Media Column

October 30, 1991 2 min read

Whittle Communications will bring American and Soviet teenagers together next month in a satellite exchange that will be televised live over the “Channel One” in-school news system.

“This has never been done before, at least on this level,” said Cynthia Samuels, executive producer of the special, “Sharing Freedom: The First International High School Assembly.”

The one-hour show will air live beginning at 10:45 A.M. Eastern time on Nov. 26 from Centreville High School in Centreville, Ohio, and Moscow Specialized English School No. 23 in the Soviet capital.

The Pepsi-Cola Company is the commercial sponsor for the special, which will include several taped background reports as well as live dialogue between the students on such issues as the failed Soviet coup d’etat, student life in the United States and Soviet Union, and future hopes the students have for the two countries.

Tom Brokaw, the NBC News anchorman, will serve as the host of the show.

The U.S.-Soviet exchange is one of the first major projects for Whittle’s Channel One system outside of the daily 12-minute classroom news show.

The second of three monthly news specials for children airs next week on the Nickelodeon cable channel.

“Nickelodeon Special Edition: It’s Only Television,” debuts Nov. 6 at 5 P.M. Eastern time. The focus of this episode is on the medium itself, as host Linda Ellerbee examines the impact of television viewing on children’s lives.

The half-hour show includes discussions with Jeff Sagansky, the president of CBS Entertainment, and Gary David Goldberg, a veteran producer who is in charge of this season’s new “Brooklyn Bridge” series on CBS.

The aim of the show is to educate children about the television business and to get them to think more critically about the medium, the producers say.

The advocacy group Action for Children’s Television last week released a new videotape that is designed to help parents and community groups hold stations to the requirements of the Children’s Television Act.

The law’s requirement that broadcasters serve the educational and informational needs of children went into effect this month. The law’s provision’s limiting commercial time during children’s programming will go into effect Jan. 1.

Copies of “It’s the Law! How the Children’s Television Act Can Make a Difference” are available for $40 each from Action for Children’s Television, 20 University Rd., Cambridge, Mass. 02138. --M.w.

A version of this article appeared in the October 30, 1991 edition of Education Week as Media Column