We sat at a table with no logos, no call letters and no other means of identifying the competition. The mission of Protecting Our Children had brought this group of powerful Central New York media together. The Bernie Fine child sex abuse allegations got the community talking, but now it was time to turn the conversation.
The meetings started shortly after the New Year. The team at the McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center hoped the broadcasters of our community would elevate the discussion. The first step was a shared live broadcast of a town hall session teaching community leaders signs of concern in youth athletic programs.
Then the focus switched to an in depth cooperative documentary type broadcast that would run in April. We declared WCNY our public broadcaster as Switzerland the obvious neutral turf where we would meet and through whom we would organize this unique undertaking.
General Managers, News Directors, Managing Editors, News Anchors and others were at the table. Julie Cecile from McMahon Ryan was also there to add topic expertise. We hashed out topics for stories and dished out assignments. We established the need for a phone bank staffed by child abuse experts on the day of the broadcast. We discusses cross media promotion. We talked television, cable, radio, digital and social media.
Twice before in the last 25 years in Syracuse have stations joined together for a program like this one. The most recent goes back nearly twenty years. Back then the topic focused on the problem of drugs in our community. This time it is child abuse that has captured our community attention.
Surely the Penn State case touched off the recent attention and led to the Bernie Fine investigation and an increase in reports of abuse. But, even before that the death of little Erin Maxwell in Oswego County also spiked reports of abuse in the last couple of years. Now we are working on turning those tragic stories into a positive force.
I am personally proud to be part of this effort. Later this week we will gather in a studio to record much of what you will see when the program airs on April 25th. Stories are being shot and edited. You will hear much more as we build to that day that will be dedicated to educating our community about child abuse.
Any questions or comment please forward them to mattsmemo@CNYcentral.com. I may even use some of your thoughts on NBC 3 News at 5:00, the 10:00 News on CW6 or on CNYcentral.com.
The opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of the author and are not reflective of the views or opinions of Barrington Broadcasting, WSTM-NBC3, its management or employees.