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PR: Education

PBS and NPR stations across the country collaborate to launch the newly redesigned Forum Network, an online video lecture service and website

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PBS, NPR and WGBH announce today the launch of the redesigned Forum Network (forum-network.org), a national digital media lecture service and website that provides free educative content in the form of online lectures to citizens of local communities and beyond.  Public stations across the country are working in collaboration with local mission-driven community organizations, and cultural and educational institutions to produce free online lectures that educate, inform and engage people in ideas, cultural diversity, and compelling issues of our time.

The Forum Network began at WGBH, Boston’s public broadcaster, as a local community service and online media initiative.  In 2008, generous funding from PBS, NPR, CPB, WGBH and the Lowell Society made it possible to rebrand and relaunch the Forum Network as a national PBS and NPR public service and platform.

The updated Forum Network site features thousands of high quality lecture videos and audio downloads by some of the world’s leading thinkers, scientists, policymakers, artists, authors, and community leaders.  It incorporates social networking elements that enable audiences to exchange ideas and content through time-coded commenting, discussion threads, media rating, and sharing tools.  Closed Captioning, transcripts, and slides are also available for select videos on the Forum Network.

“The Forum Network connects diverse producers, perspectives, and people in a network of public discourse around the globe,” said Jon Abbott, WGBH president.  “Public broadcasting is unique in that it has the organizing principle of local television and radio stations in communities across the nation co-producing content with community partners.  We have the added value of being able to align and promote this content with our broadcast programs and platforms.”

Participating Public Stations in Washington, DC (WETA), New York City (WNET), Atlanta (Public Broadcasting Atlanta), and Boston (WGBH) are currently generating new content around compelling local and global issues by extending the stations’ local impact to museums, libraries, universities and community groups that offer public lectures.  Forum Network partners include top colleges, institutes, forums, and museums such as the Harvard Institute of Politics, MIT Tech & Culture Forum, Museum of Science, High Museum of Art, Cambridge Forum, Boston Athenaeum, Museum of African American History, Southern Center for International Studies, and many more.  Video on the new website is powered by the Kaltura open source online video platform.

Forum Network director Eli Ingraham said, “The trusted brands of PBS and NPR, together with the constellation of public stations, provide neutral ground for audiences around the world to explore topics of interest, to expose themselves to different ideas, to get engaged. We call it a user-generated citizenry.”

About CPB

CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 and is steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting.  It helps support the operations of more than 1,100 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

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 month, PBS reaches more than 115 million people on-air and online, inviting 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 WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such celebrated national PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other award-winning primetime, lifestyle and children’s series.  Boston’s last remaining independent TV station, WGBH produces local TV productions (among them, Greater Boston, Basic Black and María Hinojosa: One-on-One) that focus on the region’s diverse community, while WGBH 89.7 FM is Boston’s NPR Arts & Culture station, offering a rich menu of classical, jazz, blues, news programming and more.  WGBH is the leading producer of online content for pbs.org – one of the most-visited dot-org sites on the Internet – a major producer for public radio and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities.  For its efforts, WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors, including Oscars, Emmys, Peabodys and duPont-Columbia Journalism Awards.  Visit WGBH on the Web at www.wgbh.org