Courtroom Television Network plans the first of what it
hopes will be an annual "Day of Diversity" on Tuesday (Oct. 26), with a live,
multimedia broadcast of Opening the Door to Diversity, aimed at getting
middle-school students to address issues of tolerance.
The event has wide-ranging support from educators, cable
operators, broadcasters, Internet interests, the Anti-Defamation League and even President
Clinton, who will appear on the telecast.
Opening the Door to Diversity will be broadcast live
from the AT&T Broadband & Internet Services National Digital Television Center in
Littleton, Colo., with the studio designed as an interactive classroom.
With the help from the AT&T@Home data-over-cable
service, Colorado middle school students will be linked to counterparts from Caesar Chavez
Middle School in Hayward, Calif.; Carey Junior High in Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Eberhart
Elementary School in Chicago.
The event falls under Court TV's two-year-old
"Choices and Consequences" initiative designed to make kids aware that a single
act can have life-long consequences.
The program is geared to middle-school-age children, who
are especially impressionable, Court TV president Henry Schleiff said.
The program was in the works before the shootings at
Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., six months ago, he said. But such high-profile
acts of high school violence -- as well as the beating death of University of Wyoming
student Matthew Shepard one year ago -- led AT&T Broadband, under then-CEO Leo J.
Hindery Jr., to develop a national education initiative on diversity.
The MSO worked with Court TV and other organizations,
including the National Middle School Association, the ADL, Cable in the Classroom and the
U.S. Department of Education.
Al Roker of NBC's Today will co-host with Court
TV anchor Catherine Crier. NBC will also distribute Opening the Door to Diversity
to its 13 owned-and-operated stations and make it available to network affiliates, either
live or on videotape.
ABC Radio Network will distribute the broadcast to all of
After its live broadcast at noon, Court TV will replay the
event twice Tuesday, once at 7 p.m. and again at 11 p.m. Live chats will follow each of
the rebroadcasts on the Yahoo! portal, which will direct visitors to www.courttv.com/talk.
Court TV will also air diversity-related dramas and
documentaries, particularly in primetime. Examples include the movie Passing Glory,
produced by Quincy Jones and Magic Johnson, and the documentary Black and Blue:
Schleiff conceded that some recent criticism against the
media is probably fair, but added, "People should understand the power the media has
Cable in the Classroom distributed curriculum aids for Opening
the Door to Diversity to about 2,700 middle schools around the country. Students will
be encouraged to call in and send questions or comments via electronic mail during the