Column: Media

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The author J. Anthony Lukas spent 10 years researching the story of three Boston families caught up in the social and racial upheaval caused by the 1974 court order mandating busing to integrate that city's schools. His 1985 book on the subject, Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families, won the Pulitzer Prize.

Now, CBS is bringing the story to television in the form of a four-hour, two-part miniseries. "Common Ground" airs from 9 to 11 P.M. Eastern time on March 25 and 27.

The show revolves around the lives of Rachel Twymon (played by C.C.H. Pounder), a divorced black mother whose daughter is among the first students to be bused to Charlestown High School; Alice McGoff (Jane Curtin), an Irish Catholic mother in Charlestown who becomes active in opposing forced busing; and Colin Diver (Richard Thomas), a young city lawyer who along with his wife wants their sons to grow up in a racially mixed environment.

The miniseries includes many disturbing images from the time, including riots at Charlestown High, the stoning of school buses, and an attack on a black man by white youths wielding an American flag.

Ted Turner, the chairman and president of the Turner Broadcasting System, has announced that "CNN Newsroom," a news program for high-school students produced by the Cable News Network, will be extended through summer, thus making it available on a year-round basis.

The 15-minute daily program is broadcast overnight on the CNN cable channel so school officials can tape it for use in schools the next day. The company says that 7,000 schools across the country have enrolled to use the program, which is viewed by many educators as a commercial-free alternative to Whittle Communications' "Channel One" newscast.

CNN Newsroom was recently awarded the Hall of Fame Award by the advocacy group Action for Children's Television.

"Tribes," a soap opera for teenagers, debuted last week on Fox Television stations in seven major cities.

The half-hour show, broadcast Monday through Friday at various times in the early evening, focuses on the lives of students attending a fictional Southern California high school. Among the storylines and themes addressed in the first season are a teenage girl who gets pregnant, a teacher who is accused of sexual involvement with students, a teen-suicide hotline, and the use of drugs and alcohol.

The program will be launched nationally at a later date on other Fox-affiliated stations.--mw

Vol. 09, Issue 25

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