March 1, 2010
Planet Forward, the progressive new media project pioneered at SMPA
last year, has recently received a $500,000 grant from the Tawani
Foundation, which supports ventures that enrich and improve health,
wellness and knowledge. The award will help fund production of weekly
webisodes, the website, and other potential television specials, the
first of which aired on PBS in April 2009.
A Project of the
Center for Innovative Media at George Washington University, Planet
Forward is an online social network dedicated to giving a voice to
average people who want to shape the future of energy policy.
showcase original videos about reducing carbon emissions on
Planetforward.org and comment on other contributors' ideas. The most
promising and original entries are the selected from the website and
aired as part of special broadcasts on PBS stations nationwide.
Planet Forward project also incorporates debates between policy-makers
and experts, including 2009 participants environmental entrepreneur
Shai Agassi and Carol Browner, Director of the Obama Administration's
Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy.
have also been invaluable from everything like naming the show Planet
Forward, to helping with the TV production, to supplying some real high
quality content for community reaction," said director of production
The Planet Forward production team includes two
SMPA graduate students as well as Susanna Murley, a specialist in
environmental communications. Two undergraduate interns have also
joined the Planet Forward staff this spring.
was created and hosted by SMPA Director Frank Sesno and will be hosting
a screening of student videos in the Jack Morton Auditorium on April
20. SMPA also offers an advanced, hands-on production class that
generates environmental video content for use on the Planet Forward
website and television program.
Several changes have occurred
this year as the project expands. The Planet Forward website has
enhanced its social networking capacities by allowing users to blog and
collaborate on ideas. Additionally, future TV productions of Planet
Forward will incorporate a competition that didn't exist in the pilot.
Planet Forward members who submit the best ideas on how we reduce our
carbon footprint will become Planet Forward Innovators. And we'll
follow those innovators for a year after the broadcast to see if their
ideas can take root and grow," Davis said.
Planetforward.org, "The real reward is the chance to have your
viewpoint considered by influential people and become a real part of
the national debate."
Planet Forward's second television special
is currently in production and will use material being collected now
from Planetforward.org. Several "webisodes" have also been produced in
the interim period between television specials.
Davis said the
positive feedback from funders, members of the pilot community and PBS
associates encouraged the launch of future TV specials.
The first television special recently aired again on PBS channel 26 in Washington D.C.
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