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News About By The People’s Upcoming Deliberation Week

By the People (www.pbs.org/newshour/btp) has just announced grant awards to the community groups and PBS stations in sixteen cities across the country that will convene Citizen Dialogues and produce companion television programming during Deliberation Week, October 22-29, 2005. Through these events, they anticipate more than 1,000 citizens nationwide will join in a common deliberation about one of two critically important issues before the nation: healthcare and education. The discussions, which will be national and local in scope, will reach an even larger audience when they are featured in a national PBS broadcast airing on November 10, 2005, at 9:00pm ET. To read a list of participating groups and stations, click on the link below.

By The People is also organizing a number of other participation venues. Five community colleges around the country will engage their students and local communities in dialogues on healthcare and education during Deliberation Week and throughout the fall. Topics for discussion include healthcare for the uninsured, hospital personnel shortages, education ethics, and teaching challenges in a diverse classroom. (To read a list of participating colleges, click on the link below). And more than 300 citizens will participate in a national online conversation about By the People’s Deliberation Week issues– healthcare and education– in September and October 2005. A representative sample of citizens nationwide will participate in weekly small group discussions to become more informed. The resulting shifts of opinion will reveal what these participants think about healthcare and education as they learn more about these issues. The experiment will be conducted for By the People by the Stanford Center for Deliberative Democracy and Polimetrix. The online process will mirror face-to-face conversations taking place during Deliberation Week. The online deliberators, who will be a national representative sample, will meet online in small groups and participate in discussions conducted through voice rather than text. Results of the online Deliberative Opinion Poll® will be available on the By the People website in November.

Deliberation Week grantees include: Albuquerque, NM: KNME and Youth Development, Inc.; Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana Public Broadcasting; Bowling Green, OH: WBGU and the Center for Regional Development; Charlottesville, VA: WHTJ; Cleveland, OH: WVIZ/PBS Ideastream; Detroit, MI: WTVS-Detroit Public TV and Henry Ford Community College; Kansas City, MO: KCPT and KC Forums; Kearney, NE: Nebraska ETV Network and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center; Miami, FL: WPBT; Muncie, IN: WIPB; New Haven, CT: Connecticut PTV and Gateway Community College; Pittsburgh, PA: WQED Multimedia and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy; Rochester, NY: WXXI; St. Louis, MO: KETC Channel 9 and FOCUS St. Louis; San Diego, CA: KPBS; and Seattle, WA: KCTS Television and Seattle Works

Participating Community Colleges include: Broome Community College (Binghamton, NY) and Middlesex Community College (Bedford and Lowell, MA). Schools that will add a broadcast element to their project include: Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, KS); Kingwood College (Kingwood, TX); and Montgomery College (Takoma Park, MD).

Amy Lang

Amy Lang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia. She wrote her dissertation on British Columbia’s groundbreaking Citizens’ Assembly process, and is currently doing follow-up research on the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly.


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