Designed and managed by Outreach Extensions (OE), the CRITICAL CONDITION National Outreach Campaign highlighted issues surrounding health care, national policy, and economic development, while at the same time promoting public television’s history of presenting stories about timely issues and underrepresented communities. This strategic public awareness campaign engaged communities and heightened the visibility of health care policy during the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. The campaign demonstrates how OE has pioneered the leveraging of local public television stations’ multiplatform media assets as part of outreach campaigns in association with the broadcast of a national television documentary or series.
- Phase One: Making Connections Sites (2007–2008) – Funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) Phase One targets its Making Connections sites, including their collaborative work with public television stations. Projects raise awareness, expand public dialogue, and play a catalytic role in presenting local issues and solutions. Stations/sites included Making Connections Hartford and Connecticut Public Television, Making Connections Indianapolis and WFYI, Making Connections San Antonio and KLRN, Making Connections Providence, Milwaukee Public Television, Making Connections Des Moines, and Making Connections Louisville.
- Phase Two: Expand Reach to Additional Making Connections Markets (2008) – Funds from The Annie E. Casey Foundation supported the engagement of three additional stations in 2008: Maryland Public Television; KPBS/San Diego, CA; and KCTS/Seattle, WA.
- Phase Three: National Campaign (2008)
- Spanish language broadcast – As part of its outreach funding from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Outreach Extensions collaborated with P.O.V., Public Policy Productions, and V–me on a Spanish–language broadcast. A for–profit venture partnered with public television, V–me is a 24–hour digital broadcast network carried on basic digital cable and satellite systems. Reaching 28 million homes and more than 60 percent of all Hispanic households, V–me broadcast a one hour Spanish–language version of CRITICAL CONDITION – comprising the two Latino stories, Carlos Benitez and Hector Cardenas. A host opened the show to establish the context of the stories in relation to the health care crisis. Following the two stories, the host suggested action items for viewers to do.
- Broader Public Television Reach – Phase Three invited additional public television stations, especially those in states that were considering strategic public policies related to the health care crisis, to participate in the campaign. Tier One grantees created outreach productions (television and radio) such as broadcast town halls, documentaries, public affairs programs, and vignettes. Tier Two grantees conducted community engagement activities such as screenings, panel discussions, and other activities that can build local solutions.