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Long Term Objectives:
A New Media Model
In addition to supporting the work of interracial community activities, the Television Race Initiative will develop a new media model, one that can be extended as well as replicated. In order to maximize the value of TRI, it will be rigorously evaluated throughout the project to:
  • Storytelling & Civic Engagement
    Explore the potential long-term impact of storytelling on public television as a tool to foster civic engagement;
  • Media’s Role in Public Life
    Determine how media, such as public radio, print journalists, commercial broadcasters, on-line networks, etc., can participate more fully in public life;
  • Supporting Community-Based Organizations
    Measure the benefits of strategic, media-related activities on non-profit and grassroots organizations, such as heightened visibility, new members and/or constituencies, the development of sustainable partnerships and improved access to local reporters and news outlets.
Why Television as a tool? Why now?
People watch television and, naturally, talk about it. From premiere to premiere, TRI intends to harness the inevitable post-broadcast ‘buzz’ into sustained dialogue and ultimately, citizen engagement.

From the controversial debate over immigration laws and affirmative action to the revelations regarding brutality and discrimination in law enforcement, Americans are most likely to confront race relations in times of crisis. Our citizens must have safe, constructive opportunities to talk about–and seek solutions to–racial problems. Media in general, and particularly television, our most influential and ubiquitous communications technology, must participate.

Recent efforts, such as The President’s Initiative on Race and the joint project between the Anti-Defamation League and the Urban League, indicate a desire among the nation’s leadership to make race relations a priority.

Many citizens are interested in contributing to problem solving with regard to the subject of race, but lack the information and/or opportunities to get involved. Meanwhile, many organizations are dedicated to fostering race-related dialogue, coalition building and community development, but need help attracting and sustaining involvement. Creatively positioned media can serve as catalyst and convener.

The programs slated for broadcast, and others still in the PBS pipeline, will be made accessible, free of charge, to virtually all Americans over the next two to three years. Left to their own devices, program producers will initiate their own, isolated outreach campaign. The Television Race Initiative is designed to build audiences and magnify the impact of each broadcast by linking these stories, creating a context for discussion and activities, and most importantly, supporting opportunities to sustain citizen engagement over time.

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© Copyright 1999, Television Race Initiative