19 Action News Collaborates with Voices & Choices

N.E. OHIO- Local television broadcasters across Northeast Ohio will join together beginning Monday for an historic collaborative public service project called "Make Your Choice," designed to educate Northeast Ohio residents about key economic and social challenges facing the region and to encourage citizens to weigh-in on potential solutions to those challenges through Voices & Choices.

"Make Your Choice" includes two key components. First, from Sept. 4 through Sept. 9, participating television stations in the Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Youngstown markets will dedicate time in their newscasts to inform viewers about one of six priority challenges facing the region - challenges identified by nearly 20,000 Northeast Ohio citizens who have participated in Voices & Choices over the past year.

Participating stations have been assigned one of the six challenges and will produce a single story to explore that challenge. However, as part of the collaboration, each individual news story will be shared with the other television stations, with participating stations all running the exact same story each day.
For example, on Monday Sept. 4, all participating television stations will air a news segment that explores the issues of school funding and accountability and training workers to meet the needs of current and future jobs, produced by Cleveland station WKYC Channel 3. Each day that week, the stations' newscasts will explore another challenge.

The complete schedule of the week's topics follows below:

Monday, Sept. 4: EDUCATION - School Funding and Accountability/Training Workers for Current and Future Jobs

Tuesday, Sept. 5: EQUITY - Increasing Racial Inclusion and Income Inequality

Wednesday, Sept. 6: QUALITY OF LIFE - Addressing Sprawl

Thursday, Sept. 7: COOPERATION - Reducing Government Fragmentation

Friday, Sept 8: JOBS - Attracting and Growing Businesses

Following each segment broadcast, viewers will be encouraged to visit the Voices & Choices Web site (voiceschoices.org) to learn more about each challenge and to vote on solutions to address the challenge by completing a survey called an "Online Choicebook." Viewers also may call 1-800-929-2319 to request that an Online Choicebook be sent to them by mail.

In the second component of the "Make Your Choice" project, a 30-minute program that compiles each of the reports and explores some of the solutions identified by the Voices & Choices process will be broadcasted by participating stations. Each station will select its own time to broadcast the special program. During the program, viewers will be encouraged to weigh-in by completing a Voices & Choices Online Choicebook.

"Local television stations are committed to public service and we have a history of rallying together to address critical issues. The future of the region is one of those issues," said Jerry Wareham, president and CEO of ideastream, who worked with managers of other stations to foster the collaboration. "Voices & Choices has already engaged thousands of citizens. The area's television stations are uniquely positioned to foster the broadest community engagement. Each of the stations involved is playing a part in making this effort successful."