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Project Advisors:

Rev. Dr. Joan Campbell
National Council of Churches

Christina Cuevas
Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County

Judy Doctoroff
Public Affairs Television

Robert Larson
Larson Communications Group

Cyria M. Lobo
YWCA, Racial Justice/ Human Rights Division

Ceasar McDowell
Telecommunications/ Civil Rights Specialist

Marc Skvirsky
Facing History and Ourselves

Wayne Winborne
National Conference of Community & Justice

Diane Wong
UNITY - Journalists of Color

Storytelling and the Search for Solutions
The Television Race Initiative (TRI) is a multi-year effort in which diverse, character-driven, high-profile television broadcasts create a spine for sustained community dialogue and problem solving around the issue of race relations. In partnership with national and community-based organizations, TRI uses storytelling-initially in the form of several public television broadcasts-to ‘break the ice’ and encourage essential conversations that lead to constructive action.

Television Race Initiative (TRI), a project of American Documentary, Inc., grew out of a "beyond outreach" community engagement model called High Impact Television (HITV). Created initially for AmDoc's signature PBS series, P.O.V., and more proactive than conventional "outreach," High Impact Television and TRI are collaborative media efforts that use broadcasts as tools to pursue measurable, ongoing outcomes.

Partners include national nonprofits, local and national media, public television stations, community groups, interfaith networks and educational institutions. Partners incorporate TRI into their existing educational agendas, encourage member tune-in and tie-in to TRI broadcasts and provide strategic guidance and design direction to TRI.

TRI partners with public television stations in six pilot cities where customized activities and strategic plans are being implemented to use the broadcasts as opportunities to organize community events, sneak previews, and public forums that can help sustain civic engagement and promote the development of long-term coalitions.

In consultation with independent producer organizations, producing stations, public television’s minority consortia and individual filmmakers, TRI aggressively pursues diverse and relevant programs for inclusion in the multi-year project.

The fall 1998 broadcasts focused on the implications of the history and legacy of American slavery, through P.O.V.’s “Family Name” and WGBH’s epic series “Africans in America.” Drawing on this historical perspective, the spring 1999 programs examine the difficult, often controversial steps towards solutions to racial injustices through the broadcasts of “Beyond Black and White: Affirmative Action in America,” a Fred Friendly seminar on affirmative action, and “Facing the Truth with Bill Moyers,” a Bill Moyers/Public Affairs Television special, which examines the stories behind South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These programs air on PBS on March 23 and March 30, 1999, respectively.

July 1999 brought the broadcast premiere of “Rabbit in the Moon,” a P.O.V./NAATA co-presentation. Programs that have been a part of this ‘virtual’ strand include the American Playhouse series “An American Love Story,” the Frontline special “Secrets of the SAT,” the NAATA/P.O.V. broadcast of Barbara Sonneborn’s “Regret to Inform,” WGBH’s Culture Shock, “Born to Trouble: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and P.O.V.'s broadcast of Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson’s “Well-Founded Fear,” among others.

Ultimately, a national audience and community coalitions will benefit from an exciting range of related, but extremely distinct, programs.



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© Copyright 1999, Television Race Initiative