KCET Expands Connection to Community with New Web Site, Including 'Departures' Series of Neighborhood Portraits

KCET.org Now Features Interactive Program Guides, Ability to Post Opinions, Rate Favorites, Search Local Events Around Town and More

Los Angeles - June 3, 2010 - KCET's award-winning Web site relaunches this week with an increased focus on community building. New features on the site are designed to enable visitors to discover more about the region in which they live, empower them to be active participants and share their thoughts and opinions. This evening, Thursday, June 3, 7 p.m., KCET celebrates the relaunch of kcet.org with a community event at the KCET studios, located at 4401 Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. RSVP information and event details are available below and on the new Events section at kcet.org.

Broadcast throughout 11 counties to more than 4 million viewers per month, KCET is public media for Southern and central California. KCET connects people to their communities with award-winning productions such as SoCal Connected, A Place of Our Own/Los Niños en Su Casa and Tavis Smiley; with Departures, a Web-exclusive series that partners community organizations with students and local residents to tell the stories of their neighborhoods; with numerous educational outreach activities that provide resources and information for building skill sets; and local hero events that celebrate people for the work they do to improve the lives of others.

"KCET has enjoyed a leadership role in this community and on the national stage since its inception," says Mary Mazur, KCET Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer. "Technology gives us the opportunity to expand our role in shaping local conversations, and the redesign allows us to take the essence of our mission a much larger audience."

Coinciding with the relaunch of kcet.org is the newest edition of Departures: "Venice." From multimedia walking tours to video profiles, Departures: "Venice" enables visitors to experience this vibrant, eclectic neighborhood through the eyes and ears of its residents, business owners, artists and local community leaders. The sights and sounds of Venice come alive online through a wide range of people who live and work there: Jay Griffith, landscape architect; Orson Bean and Ashley Mills, actors and long-time residents; Tim Rudnick, marine biologist; and so many others, including a surfboard shaper, historian, architect, educator and lifeguard.

Departures, a Web-exclusive multimedia series, serves as a community engagement tool and digital literacy educational program that brings students and professionals together to create an immersive online experience. These neighborhood-focused portraits explore the cultural, social and economic life of very specific communities through personal stories. KCET invites students from a local high school to participate in its Departures Adobe Youth Voices program, and then brings them together with local community organizations. From extensive research to learning how to operate a digital video camera, students and community partners work with KCET's New Media team to integrate text, slide shows, video profiles, panoramas and Google Maps into a final project. Departures: "Venice" is funded by Adobe Youth Voices and the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and features the work of students from Venice High School New Media Academy and the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC). Departures: "Chinatown" is currently in production.

Also online at kcet.org is the Web-based multimedia project Dream Interrupted: California in Crisis, an innovative partnership between the Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning news program SoCal Connected and the News21 team at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. News21 journalists working in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, Ventura County and the Antelope Valley report on vital areas of concern, including the economy, education, transportation, housing and government

Among the new features designed to engage viewers is the ability to register for the site and create individual profiles. Registered users will be able to participate in online conversations or post opinions and feedback. Other new features available at kcet.org include:

Schedule and Shows

The new interactive Schedule provides viewers with a complete rundown of show times and links to featured pages with loads of program information. The Show section enables viewers to browse basic on program genre as well as view preview clips. Clicking on the appropriate icon allows visitors to tag their favorites and post comments.

SoCal
Home to SoCal Connected and Departures, the SoCal section enables visitors to engage online and offer feedback on a range of topics that includes arts and culture, local news, politics and history. Also, visitors can interact with some of Los Angeles' most insightful and prolific social observers through Voices, an online conversation about the city at large: "City of Angels," by Brian Doherty, looks at the city's often perplexing political scene; "Think Tank LA," by Jeremy Rosenberg, focuses on the big ideas emanating from Los Angeles-area research institutes; "Movie Miento," by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, poetically explores Latino culture and its role in L.A. history; "Blur & Sharpen," by Holly Willis, takes an inside look into Southern California's globe-trotting new media artists; "Cakewalk," by Erin Aubry Kaplan, is a first-person account of race politics and identity in Los Angeles; "Where We Are," by D.J. Waldie, examines our twin identities: urban and suburban. "404 City," by Ophelia Chong, takes a look at how computers have altered our web of communities; " Pixeltown" compiles some of the best Web links, videos and other assorted curiosities. In "Guest Room," a local personality joins the KCET blog team for special reports.

Finding your next local adventure is just a click away. The Events navigation (nav.) bar points visitors to cultural, civic, family, music and screening activities and events. The Get Involved area spotlights opportunities to volunteer and contribute to the community.

Video
The site also features an enhanced on-demand viewing experience. The Video nav. bar leads to a robust online player, a destination for episodes of Huell Howser and SoCal Connected, live Webcasts of PBS NewsHour and Nightly Business Report as well as a full menu of national PBS series, including Frontline, American Experience, Great Performances, Masterpiece Theatre, Antiques Roadshow, NOVA, Austin City Limits, Nature and Independent Lens. The Video section also offers related content of interest and discussion boards.

KCET's New Media Team is currently working on a special online Summer Preview and a Geocaching activity for kids.

EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE: CALENDAR LISTING

WHO:
KCET's Mary Mazur, Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer; Gary Dauphin, kcet.org Editor and Web site Manager; and Juan Devis, Executive Producer of Departures

WHAT:
Keep on Truckin' KCET.org Launch Party

WHEN:
Thursday, June 3, 2010
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.

WHERE:
KCET Studios 4401 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027

EVENT DESCRIPTION:
KCET invites the community to celebrate the relaunch of its award-winning Web site, kcet.org, at the historic KCET Studios and meet members of its New Media staff. Admission to the event is free and includes complimentary beverages. Gourmet food trucks will be parked at KCET for delectable no-host snacks and entrees: Kogi BBQ ($2 - $7 per item), The Grilled Cheese Truck ($1 - $7.75 per item) and Cupcakes a Go Go ($3 per item). Limited complimentary parking on the lot is available on a first-come, first-served basis with RSVP to kcet.org/party.

About KCET Online
With thousands of pages to explore, kcet.org is a comprehensive companion to KCET's television programming as well as provider of original Web content. Offering new ways to explore our fascinating region, connecting visitors to local issues and community resources, and presenting a range of community voices, kcet.org is a destination for those who want to engage with others to advance education, culture and public media in Southern California. KCET Online was redesigned using Six Apart's Movable Type content management and community platform. Mary Mazur is KCET Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer and Gary Dauphin is Editor and Site Manager of kcet.org. Departures: Juan Devis is Executive Producer, and Mathew Williams is Director of Education.

About KCET
On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. More than four million viewers watch KCET in the average month. KCET is the most-watched PBS station in Southern California and the second most-watched public television station in the nation. KCET has the largest geographic reach of any PBS station in California. In addition to its far-reaching broadcast signal, KCET is carried on satellite systems and on nearly 150 cable systems in 11 counties. Viewers from San Luis Obispo to San Diego, from Palm Springs to the Pacific Coast can enjoy the station's high-quality programs. National PBS series produced from the station's Hollywood studios include four-time NAACP Award winner Tavis Smiley and the Peabody Award-winning series A Place Of Our Own and Los Niños En Su Casa. The educational animated series Sid The Science Kid is co-produced for PBS by KCET and The Jim Henson Company. KCET also produces the Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning SoCal Connected, a hard-hitting prime-time weekly television news program that examines the issues and people of Southern California. Throughout its more than 40-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children's programs, its outreach and community services and its Web site, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. More than half of the funds raised to support KCET's operating budget come from individual support. For additional information about KCET productions, Web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org.

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I attended the Launch party last night and had a fabulous time. Thank you KCET!

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I'm glad you had a great time, Kimberly. There are picture of the party here: http://www.kcet.org/socal/site-news/kcetorg-relaunch-party-recap.html

Let us know if you see yourself!