On-Air Highlights

Chasing the Dream

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | May 5, 2016 8:51 AM
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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is an ongoing public media reporting initiative.  We are taking an in-depth look at the contemporary state of the American Dream in Pennsylvania: the changing nature of jobs, the vanishing middle class, wage disparity, and economic opportunity.

WITF is participating in Chasing The Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America.  The complex issue of poverty is often approached without a proper understanding of the nuances to the root causes and subsequent effects in homes and on communities. In Pennsylvania, the social service safety net has been reduced, due to budget cuts and the ongoing budget impasse between the governor and the state legislature. The number of Pennsylvanians who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rose by more than 250,000 from 2009 to 2014.

Over the coming months WITF will present a multi-platform in-depth look at poverty including:

  • 89.5 & 93.3 news features will look at some of the poorest school districts which are cutting social workers for student populations that need them the most, the legacy of environmental health problems due to steel, coal and other industries, and a look at why poverty isn't coming up more often on the campaign trail.
  • Smart Talk will discuss where poverty is found in Pennsylvania,  how does poverty limit those living in it, and how do people escape poverty and find opportunity. 
  • Throughout the day on WITF TV you'll see short segments focusing on educating out of poverty:
    • Profile of a community organization supporting children in poverty
    • Lack of nutritious food which leads to difficulties in learning
    • Providing a safe place at schools and whether bullying is an issue for children living in poverty
    • Profile an educator who makes it their personal mission to see their students succeed
  • WITF TV will feature documentaries including:
    • The Homestretch - Sunday May 8 at 6:00pm - Follow three smart and ambitious Chicago teens who brave frigid winters, high school pressures and homelessness as they fight to stay in school, graduate and build a future. By Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly.
    • Rich Hill - Sunday May 15 at 6:00pm - Follow three boys as they navigate the often-treacherous road between childhood and adolescence in an economically depressed Missouri town. Despite the isolation and deprivation, they long for the American Dream. By Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo.
    • FRONTLINE: Poor Kids - Sunday May 22 at 6:00pm - Follow three young girls who are growing up against the backdrop of their families' struggles against financial ruin. The result is an intimate portrait of the economic crisis as it's rarely seen, through the eyes of children. At a time when one in five American kids lives below the poverty line, Poor Kids is an unflinching and revealing exploration of what poverty means to children, and to the country's future.
  • WITF will host a Community Forum in June to discuss the various aspects of poverty and what can be done to reduce poverty through the region. 

Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is ​a multi-platform public media Initiative hosted by WNET that aims to provide a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society: what life is like below the poverty line, its impact on our economic security and on our children, and what has happened to our age-old dream of striving for a better life. We'll also highlight solutions: what has worked - and what is working to bring people out of poverty - and what lessons we can and must learn for the future.

Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is supported nationally by:

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JPB Foundation

Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is supported locally by:

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