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PBS ENGAGE LAUNCHES LIVE ONLINE CHATS

Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff Leads First Chat Sept. 30th
at PBS’s Social Media Site, www.pbs.org/chat

ARLINGTON, VA, Sept. 25, 2008 — Beginning this month, PBS Engage – public broadcasting’s social media initiative – will launch an ongoing series of live online chats, allowing audiences to talk directly with those responsible for the award-winning content found on PBS. Viewers and online users will be able to ask questions and get answers from prominent journalists, filmmakers and producers, among others. All chats will take place at www.pbs.org/chat.

NewsHour Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff will host PBS Engage’s first Live Chat, from 1-2 p.m. ET on Sept. 30th. As part of each event, users will be able to submit questions in advance and vote for their favorites to be addressed. Each guest will answer questions live for one hour, and all chats will be archived on the PBS Engage site.

“We want to connect our growing and diverse audience to the people who create the PBS content they love,” said Jason Seiken, senior vice president, PBS Interactive. “That’s what PBS Engage is all about: Creating new ways to make our online service their service.”

Support for PBS Engage was provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

“We hope Engage allows PBS to present its content in new, more accessible ways,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. “The live chat format at PBS Engage begins to offer the kind of multimedia service PBS is using to better connect with a broader and younger American audience.”

About The PBS Engage Initiative
PBS Engage - launched as a Web site (pbs.org/engage) - is a laboratory for experimentation with social media and a hub for all social media activity around PBS. The Engage Web site also serves as the destination to highlight the numerous social media experiments created by individual public television stations and television producers. However, PBS Engage is more than a Web site. Engage provides tools, best practices, and consulting to support PBS member stations and producers. Through the generous support of Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation, The PBS Engage Initiative is putting the “public” back in public media.

About PBS
PBS, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans – from every walk of life – the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each week, PBS reaches more than 65 million people and invites them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

About Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities. Knight Foundation supports ideas and projects that create transformational change. Visit www.knightfoundation.org

About The Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has been a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide, guided by its goals of strengthening democratic values, reducing poverty and injustice, promoting international cooperation and advancing human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia.

-PBS-


Contact
Kevin Dando
(703) 739-5073
kdando@pbs.org


www.pbs.org/pressroom





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