History, Time Warner Cable, USA Vying For Golden Beacon

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The Association of Cable Communicators has narrowed the field to three nominees for the association's highest honor, the Golden Beacon Award.

The nominees are:

• Vietnam in HD: Education Outreach and PSA Campaign, History.

• Connect a Million Minds, Time Warner Cable.

• Characters Unite, USA Network.

ACC will honor the Golden Beacon Award nominees and announce the winner during the Beacon Awards Luncheon and Ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Hilton New York. The ceremony is the concluding event of ACC's annual conference, FORUM 2012: Communicator.2012 The Critical Skills for Today. The 2011 Golden Beacon Award recognized MTV for its A Thin Line campaign.

"The Golden Beacon is ACC's highest honor, presented each year to a single communications initiative that has had a profound and lasting effect on the industry and its various stakeholders," Pete Abel, 2012 Beacon Awards chair and senior vice president, corporate communications, Suddenlink, said in a release. "Over the past year, three industry programs, History's Vietnam in HD, Time Warner Cable's Connect a Million Minds and USA Network's Characters Unite, have exemplified the cable industry's commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities we serve, locally, nationally and globally."

History's campaign was created to educate young people about this important chapter in U.S. history and to encourage all Americans to thank our veterans, whether they served decades ago or have recently returned from service. Partnerships with key nonprofits, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), helped extend the reach of the program. History conducted a tour of four major cities with the VVMF's Wall that Heals, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Wall. This campaign also included powerful PSAs and vignettes entitled "It's Never Too Late to Thank a Vet" featuring network employees and everyday Americans who gave a simple "thank you" to their family and community members who have served.

The premiere run of the miniseries Vietnam in HD in the fall of 2011 was seen by an audience of more than 16 million; the education outreach campaign with supporting materials reached more than 250,000 teachers and 7 million students. Perhaps most importantly, thousands of Vietnam veterans across the country were touched by this campaign.

In 2009, Time Warner Cable (TWC) decided to focus the majority of its philanthropic resources on a single cause, one that has been identified at the highest levels of leadership in the country as vital to our nation's future, and one that the company could meaningfully affect. The result was Connect a Million Minds (CAMM), Time Warner Cable's five-year, $100 million cash and in-kind commitment to connect young people in the wonders of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). To bring CAMM to life, TWC has developed strong national partnerships with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), which TWC supports through on-air promotion and grants that help bring robotics programming to new communities, and the Coalition for Science After School (CSAS), the organization behind TWC's "Connectory," a free resource that makes it easy for parents and teachers to find informal STEM learning opportunities. In addition, TWC brings the impact of CAMM to its local communities by supporting robotics teams, science museums and other nonprofit organizations that get kids excited about STEM. To date, the public has pledged to connect more than 472,000 young minds to the wonders of STEM.

Characters Unite is USA Network's public service campaign dedicated to combating prejudice and discrimination while promoting diversity and acceptance. In partnership with leading nonprofit organizations, the multiplatform initiative focuses on a wide range of civil and human rights issues, including racism, hate crimes, bullying, access for people with disabilities, gender discrimination and religious intolerance. In 2012 the campaign included extensive on-air programming such as the documentary NFL Characters Unite and specially-themed episodes of USA's hit series; original PSAs; digital content; and community outreach and high school education programs. While the effort is year-round, USA designated February as Characters Unite Month, a time when the network shines a brighter spotlight on the importance of tolerance and mutual respect.

This year, as the centerpieces of the month, USA launched the "I Won't Stand For..." initiative, which included a PSA, pop-up experiences nationwide and an employee activation, to send a message that people from all walks of life can and should no longer stand idly by in the face of bigotry and hate. In February alone, Characters Unite reached 118 million viewers on-air, and more than 175,000 people participated in off-air events across the country.

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