NOW on PBS

Apr 30 2010 23 mins 7.1k

Called "one of the last bastions of serious journalism on TV," PBS's weekly news show NOW engages viewers with documentary segments and insightful interviews that probe today's most important issues, including media policy, corporate accountability, civil liberties, the environment, money in politics, and foreign affairs. In an era when commercial journalism risks overwhelming democratic values, NOW continues to stand apart as the "one program going against the grain."


















Soap Opera for Social Change
Mar 19 2010 22 mins  
There are places in the world where the success of a soap opera is measured not just in TV ratings, but in human lives. NOW travels to Kenya, where ambitious producers and actors hope one such TV show, "The Team", can help foster peace amongst the country's 42 official tribes. During presidential elections two years ago, tribalism-influenced protests in Kenya left almost 1,500 dead and nearly 300,000 displaced. Tensions continue today over issues including extreme poverty and widespread corruption. In "The Team", soccer players from different tribes work together to overcome historic rivalries and form a common bond. The hope is that commonalities portrayed in fiction can inspire harmony in the real world. Early reaction to the show's inaugural season is promising. "I was very surprised to see how Kenyans want change, how they want to live in peace and the way the responded to us," Milly Mugadi, one of the show's stars, noted during a local screening. "There were people from different tribes talking about peace and how to reconcile with each other... they opened up their hearts." John Marks, whose organization Common Ground produces versions of "The Team" in 12 different countries, is cautiously hopeful. "You don't watch one of our television shows and drop your submachine gun," explains Marks, who says he was inspired by the influence of "All in the Family" on American culture. "But you can change the environment so it becomes more and more difficult to be in violent conflict." Can this soap opera for social change really make a difference in stopping violence?















Saving Haiti's Mothers
Jan 29 2010 22 mins  
Haiti's catastrophic earthquake, in addition to leaving lives and institutions in ruin, also exacerbated a much more common and lethal emergency in Haiti: Dying during childbirth. Challenges in transportation, education, and quality health care contribute to Haiti having the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, a national crisis even before the earthquake struck. While great strides are being made with global health issues like HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality figures worldwide have seen virtually no improvement in 20 years. Worldwide, over 500,000 women die each year during pregnancy. A NOW team that had been working in Haiti during the earthquake reports on this deadly but correctable trend. They meet members of the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF), which operates a network of health agents in more than 100 villages, engaging in pre-natal visits, education, and emergency ambulance runs for pregnant women. The United Nations Population Fund, which trains midwives to share life-saving birth techniques, says that with proper funding, public support, and wider application of simple but scarce innovations, such deaths could be reduced by nearly 70%. As humanitarian attention on Haiti slowly fades, the issue of maternity mortality remains as imperative as ever. But with an estimated 63,000 women in Haiti currently pregnant -- and a main midwife training school devastated by the earthquake -- the mission of keeping mothers alive has never been more daunting.



























































































































































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