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PBS Engage Launches Live Online Chats
Sep 25, 2008 (08:09 AM EDT)


ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- 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 online service 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 Ibarguen, 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."

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.

PBS is a media enterprise that serves 355 public, noncommercial television stations and reaches nearly 73 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality news and public affairs programs as well as documentary and dramatic entertainment and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of digital learning content for pre-K-12 educators and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDSOnline ( www.pbskids.org www.pbs.org ), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at , one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

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

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.

CONTACT: Kevin Dando of PBS, +1-703-739-5073, kdando@pbs.org

Web site: http://www.knightfoundation.org/ http://www.pbs.org/ http://www.pbskids.org/