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Planet Forward

Planet Forward is a new “hybrid media initiative” hosted by Emmy-winning journalist Frank Sesno, which will debut online on March 6th and air as a one-hour special on PBS on April 15th.

Planet Forward hopes to harness the power of the internet and social networking to engage students, innovators, activists, policy makers and the online community to tackle one of the most important challenges facing our nation and world - energy and climate change.

A virtual public square, Planet Forward is currently accepting submissions from the public. Check it out. Press release after the jump.

“PLANET FORWARD”

TO EXPLORE REAL-WORLD SOLUTIONS TO ENERGY

AND CLIMATE CHANGE CRISIS

INNOVATIVE, VIEWER-DRIVEN PROJECT DEBUTS ON WEB:

MARCH 6, 2009

CULMINATES IN PBS BROADCAST:

APRIL 15, 2009 at 8 PM

Hosted by Emmy Award-winning CNN Veteran Frank Sesno, PLANET FORWARD Will Harness the Power of the Internet and Social Networking to Engage Students, Innovators, Activists and the Online Community to Tackle One of the Most Important Challenges Facing our World

DATELINE — PLANET FORWARD, a new kind of television experience that grows out of a new kind of web experience, will launch online on March 6, 2009 and culminate in a PBS broadcast on April 15, 2009 at 8 p.m. A virtual public square, PLANET FORWARD is fueled by the power of ideas — from students to scientists, entrepreneurs to activists — as they make their case for what they think about the nation’s energy future.

Launching during the critical first one hundred days of the Obama presidency, PLANET FORWARD will engage and connect citizens through the most persuasive and creative online submissions: Op/Ed pieces, photo essays, songs, film, animation. With citizen engagement in last year’s election approaching unprecedented levels, PLANET FORWARD offers a place for that energy to be harnessed: the people’s voice on the most challenging issues of our times.

The most provocative and interesting submissions will rise to the top, culminating in a nationally televised PBS special, taped in front of a live audience at Washington D.C.’s George Washington University, and featuring A-list experts, scientists, policy makers, and business leaders as well as citizen journalists selected from the PLANET FORWARD website. Planned as a two-year series of quarterly specials, the first PLANET FORWARD program will explore the feasibility of moving rapidly away from fossil fuels.

Dispensing with the old top-down model of public affairs programming, in which experts expound to voiceless viewers, PLANET FORWARD’s emphasis is bottom-up, with citizens leading and driving the conversation. Seeking to engage a young and diverse audience, PLANET FORWARD is working with several universities and local public television stations to create a groundswell of engagement and local activity. PLANET FORWARD is public affairs for the next generation – think innovation, not pontification.

For information about submitting content and updates on the project, visit http://www.planetforward.org.


PLANET FORWARD is a co-production of the Public Affairs Project at the George Washington University in Washington, DC and Nebraska Educational Telecommunications in collaboration with Public Agenda and Sunburst Creative Productions.

About the PLANET FORWARD TEAM

The George Washington University Public Affairs Project was established to enhance the understanding and practice of public affairs media as technology transforms the way information is conveyed. The Project was created to be an incubator for ideas and innovation. It includes students who will shape the future of journalism but who already are practiced experts in digital media. The Project is enhanced by its university base and unique location and access to national leaders, expertise and diverse communities.

Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) is one of the nation’s leading and most innovative public media organizations with a distinguished history of creating radio, television and interactive media content melding public policy, science, and the environment. NET’s latest production for NOVA on PBS is a major new documentary about Antarctic research and climate change, which will be connected to a national educational outreach initiative. It also created the WonderWise educational multimedia project which was funded by the National Science Foundation. NET is currently a partner in a new cutting edge science education project which will develop new skills for students and teachers in using media tools to understand complex scientific matters. Its radio and television news and public affairs unit is the recipient of numerous national and regional awards for its political and environmental coverage.

Public Agenda is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization based in New York. For over a quarter of a century, Public Agenda has been providing unbiased and unparalleled research that bridges the gap between American leaders and what the public really thinks about issues. Public Agenda’s mission is to help American leaders better understand the public’s point of view and citizens know more about critical policy issues so they can make thoughtful, informed decisions.

Sunburst Creative Group, in Colts Neck, New Jersey has produced and supported

high profile, issues oriented Programming for more than 25 years. Sunburst has helped

introduce and aggressively adopted new technologies, distribution methods and production techniques to enhance the content, access and appeal of issues-related public affairs programming.

Frank Sesno, Managing Editor and host of PLANET FORWARD, is Director of GW’s Public Affairs Project and a professor of media and public affairs at The George Washington University. He is an Emmy-award winning journalist with 30 years of experience, including more than 20 years at CNN, where he served as a special correspondent, Washington Bureau Chief, anchor and White House Correspondent. His recent work includes documentaries and special projects for CNN, PBS and The History Channel ranging from global energy to national security and politics.

Colette Rhoney, Executive Editor of PLANET FORWARD, is a web pioneer and seasoned network television producer. Ms. Rhoney oversaw the development and launch of America Online’s premiere broadband programming product, AOL Plus. At NBC News, she produced the top-rated program, “Meet the Press.”

Scott Bittle, Web Director of PLANET FORWARD, is Executive Vice President and Director of Public Issues Analysis at Public Agenda. He oversees web content and online public engagement, including PublicAgenda.org, which has been twice nominated for a prestigious Webby Award by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. An experienced journalist and web producer who has worked for both online and print publications, Mr. Bittle is involved in the production of citizen education guides and is lead author of Public Agenda’s Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index. He is the co-author of “Where Does the Money Go?,” a book designed to help Americans understand the debate over the federal budget and national debt.

David Feingold, Executive Producer of PLANET FORWARD, is Assistant General Manager-Content at NET (Nebraska Educational Telecommunication). He is the chief content officer for NET Television’s three state-wide television networks; the network’s television production group; Nebraska’s public radio network - NET Radio; and NET Interactive Media. NET has received numerous awards for enterprising and thoughtful news coverage, and for significant outreach initiatives on difficult and often controversial issues. Prior to returning to public broadcasting, he served as Executive Editor of Reuters Television, Ltd., as well as bureau chief for CNN in London. Earlier he held the positions of CNN’s National Editor in Atlanta and the network’s Business News Editor in New York.

Mark Ganguzza, Executive Producer of PLANET FORWARD, is founder and President of Sunburst Creative Group, Inc. of Colts Neck, New Jersey. He is a 35-year veteran of network television and private, issues oriented events. He began his career at the CBS Television Network working on hundreds of nationally broadcast programs for CBS News: “60 Minutes,” “48 Hours,” live special event coverage, “CBS Evening News,” and numerous campaign and election programs. He has produced and directed numerous major television programs for Public Affairs Television including “NOW with Bill Moyers,” “Bill Moyers’ Journal,” and “Faith and Reason”; for The Fred Friendly Seminars, he produced dozens of programs including the award winning series “Ethics in America.” Recently, he was Executive Producer/Director on several programs including the national live simulcast McCain/Obama forum at Columbia University of September 11, 2008; the premiere of the independent film I.O.U.S.A., the IntelligenceSquared debate series for BBC World and the Blue Planet Summit in Hawaii.

Ruth Wooden, President of Public Agenda, has been an outspoken advocate of public dialogue and civic engagement. Before joining Public Agenda, Ms. Wooden was Executive Vice President-Senior Counselor at the international public relations firm of Porter Novelli where she led the Advertising and Cause-Related Marketing Practice. From 1987 to 1999, she was President of The Advertising Council, the nation’s leading producer of public service announcements. During Ms. Wooden’s tenure, the Ad Council collaborated with Public Agenda on the ground-breaking study “Kids These Days: What Americans Really Think About the Next Generation.”



 
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