WCNY’s Community Intervention Inspires
Staff at WCNY in Syracuse, N.Y. recently learned that the region they serve had the highest unemployment rate in the state. Hoping to improve the situation, they created the Community Intervention initiative to offer critical assistance to their unemployed citizens. The result? Only a month later, they discovered that several participants were back at work.
WCNY jumpstarted Community Intervention with a live, televised town hall meeting. They filled the studio audience with eager, unemployed New Yorkers found through the “hire me” section of the local newspapers and a call-out posted on You Tube. Invitations encouraged potential audience members to bring questions or email them to the station beforehand.
During the town hall, re-training experts, credit counselors and placement agency staff answered questions and connected the viewers and studio audience with new job opportunities. After the broadcast, the studio audience stayed to consult with the experts and, most importantly, give one another the support they needed.
“You can’t go wrong holding town hall meetings,” explained Liz Ayers, WCNY’s V.P. of Broadcast Development. “It’s extremely important that they know they’re not alone.”
Attendee Brent Truax agreed, saying it helped being “…around knowledgeable people who can inform and educate you, but also being around people that are feeling the same pains you are. They’re looking for work and thinking no one’s listening. And you take somebody else who has been out of work longer and you think ‘I’m not as bad as what I think I am’.”
To accompany the town hall, WCNY partnered with the United Way to create a “Survival Guide for the Unemployed” featuring resources and county-specific assistance. The guide is available online with video segments, testimonials from the event, and an ongoing community forum.
WCNY will continue Community Intervention with a televised broadcast called Help Wanted and additional online resources.
See the NCME Repository for more information.