The year-long Project CommUNITY in the group’s 26 markets will spotlight people and efforts across America working to unite communities in order to foster discussions and to explore innovations that help bridge divides.
Hearst Television today unveiled a year-long 2019 initiative to investigate, chronicle and study undertakings across the country focused on uniting people within their communities.
“In today’s divisive climate, Project CommUNITY will move critical conversations forward and shine a light on the positive efforts bringing neighbors together,” Hearst said.
“Through Project CommUNITY, we will facilitate deep discussions that offer broader perspective on issues that divide communities and solutions that are being offered,” said Barbara Maushard, Hearst Television SVP of news. “We hope that, through more communication, our viewers will focus on common ground in a way that fosters greater unity.”
Project CommUNITY will feature local content developed by each participating Hearst Television station, with the station identifying the topics most appropriate for and applicable to its community.
The effort also will include the following features across all the Hearst Television stations throughout 26 markets, supported by the resources of the group’s Washington bureau and its recently launched DC-based investigative unit:
- Extended reporting on specific areas of division for each community, with a focus on what is being done to serve others and bring people together.
- Stories, interviews and editorials designed to hold elected representatives accountable for their roles in bridging or furthering the divides.
- CommUNITY Conversations, a quarterly component to spur discussions — including town hall meetings and special programming featuring extended interviews.
- CommUNITY Champion, a weekly feature to highlight people or organizations working to unite communities.
- Digital amplification of Project CommUNITY content via platforms including Hearst Television’s national social video brand Stitch, which highlights the “powerful and heartwarming” stories from local markets bringing people across the country together as a national community.
Maushard emphasizes that this project will be driven by the stations, they choose both “the topics and how they will address them. We want people to be able to talk and better understand issues. It will really be driven by what the markets think are the most important topics to discuss or discover.”
The Project CommUNITY announcement follows a recent national survey, conducted by research firm SmithGeiger on behalf of Hearst Television, which found that local broadcasters are the most trusted video-news source.
Project CommUNITY is the latest in a series of multi-pronged journalism projects, lasting a year or more in length, that Hearst Television has undertaken over the past decade to help viewers understand challenges affecting the nation. These projects have been interspersed with Hearst Television’s Peabody- and Cronkite-award-winning biennial “Commitment” election-coverage projects.