Cox, CNN Go Back to School

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Cox Communications Inc. will link its latest "Line to Learning" community-based educational project to Cable News Network this fall.

Cox's CNN tie-in will reach 23 of the MSO's markets from September through November, including its largest systems —Phoenix, San Diego, New Orleans and Orange County, Calif., vice president of communications and investor relations Ellen East said last Wednesday.

One of the project's goals is to "showcase the educational value of the high-speed Internet service Cox provides free to schools nationwide," said East.

Over the past six years, Cox has partnered with various networks for Line to Learning promotions. Prior efforts have included a tie-in with Disney Channel, in which first graders learned about animation from a Walt Disney Co. animator; a History Channel tour of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington for older students, as technicians restored the first American flag; and a Bravo-sponsored Cirque du Soleil performance.

All told, more than 300,000 students from 900 schools have participated in Line to Learning to date. East projected that more than 10,000 students will take part in the upcoming CNN project.

Turner Network Sales vice president of marketing and national accounts Jennifer Reichenbach said Turner Learning developed the co-branded four-week classroom-curriculum materials, to be made available to teachers online.

Themed "Behind the Scenes at CNN: The News You Don't See," the project will teach students how journalists report and develop news stories before they are shown to viewers, Reichenbach said.

Cox and CNN have worked for a year to map out the Line to Learning plans, which also entail a global distance-learning event on Oct. 24, as well as related community events.

CNN's first step was to contact Cable in the Classroom teachers in Cox markets to determine which subjects were of the most interest.

The support materials include press releases, material sent home to parents, and newsletters mailed to Cox subscribers, East said.

Local and state politicians and other community leaders will be invited to Line to Learning events.

The Oct. 24 event will originate from the CNN Talk Back Live
studio at CNN Center in Atlanta, and will be delivered via the Internet over Cox's broadband network, Reichenbach said. It will bring the classroom materials to life by detailing how that day's news is gathered and showing the people and technology required to make that possible.

In each participating Cox market, a selected high school will host the live Webcast.

Students also will participate in a question-and-answer session with CNN anchors, reporters, producers and engineers both in the U.S. and abroad.

Cox is looking for a technology company to sponsor the live event, East said.

After that event, students from 27 schools in participating Cox markets will then host their own town meetings to demonstrate what they've learned, the executives said.

The partners are looking into whether some schools will link with the CNN Student Bureau project, the executives said.

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