A Shared St. Louis--excerpts

Moving Image
Betacam SX
Created: 2008


A Shared St. Louis--excerpts
Summary: "St. Louis is regarded by many as one of the most racially divided cities in the nation. Yet when it comes to talking about the problem, it's a topic residents choose to avoid.

"Over the past six months KMOV tackled the subject of racism in the region' a project no other St. Louis media outlet has attempted. Our mission was to bring the issues to the forefront, get the public to discuss and bring accountability to elected officials.

"Due to the sensitivity of the topic we started internally. We began the project with a focus group of our own, inviting experts on the subject whose job is to improve race relations in the community. Even within our own group the discussion became heated and emotional.

"We broke down the series into six topics: crime, housing, economics, health, education and leadership. Each month we took a particular topic and illustrated both the positive and negative impacts on the community relating to the racial divide. After the pieces aired, the reporter invited the public to chat through our website about their particular story. The response was overwhelming. On some nights we actually had to call in web support to accommodate all of the people wishing to chat about the topics. Over the six months we aired a total of 31 stories during our 6pm and 10pm newscasts. The total number of viewing impressions reached nearly four million households. To stress the importance of the venture the stories were reported by our key anchors and reporters.

"At the end of the six months of highly visible stories exposing the issues in-depth, KMOV hosted a Town Hall meeting, inviting the area's most influential leaders. The mayors of both East St. Louis and St. Louis were both on the panel. Along with various health leaders, county executives, and education leaders our panel truly represented the needs of the community. So, on that night it was St. Louis' turn to ask the questions. What was scheduled for a one hour event turned into three. In turn, we aired highlights of the event as a prime time special viewed by more than 75,000 households. Between the actual event and the prime time special, we got the community talking. The outpouring of emails and phone calls proved we did what we set out to do. Following the meeting, each of the forum participants posted a blog on our website which also received many comments.

"Since the project ended in mid-December various organizations designed to improve race relations have also contacted us informing on an overwhelming interest. This demonstrates the power of the project. Did we end racism in St. Louis? No, but at least we have the community talking and trying to work together as 'A Shared St. Louis'."--2008 Peabody Awards entry form.

Corporate Producers: KMOV-TV (Television station : Saint Louis, Mo.)

Persons Appearing: Vickie Newton | Craig Cheatham | Robin Smith | Laurie Waters

Broadcast Date: 2008

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