Helping a Lost Community Respond to the Oil Spill
As the BP oil spill continues to ravage the Gulf Coast region, WSRE, Pensacola’s public television station, has taken a lead role in informing the community about the oil spill and its effects.
The station produced an interactive television series called Connecting the Community where community members could submit questions for a panel of experts to answer. Experts represented a variety of key organizations such as British Petroleum Civic Affairs Department, University of West Florida's Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development, Pensacola News Journal, and state and city government representatives.
WSRE’s Director of Education, Outreach, and Content Development, Jill Hubbs also supported teachers by launching the Oil Spill Response Resources page on the station’s website. “The response to the website resource page and our Connecting the Community series has been very good. We’ve had teachers of the Pensacola area call in thanking us for providing the information as a place to start with informing their students.”
One first grade teacher, Laura Vance said, “As a teacher, I think my kids think I know a lot, but I don't know everything,” she said. "This was one subject where I was feeling a little lost."
The resource page has in-depth information that parents, community members, and teachers can use to inform children and others about what the oil spill means to their local community and its national impact.
"It's been a tremendous resource for my students," said Vance. "It's been so good for us all to have a clearer picture of what is going on."
WSRE’s work is not done. “Oil is now starting to take a real toll on our beaches and on the economy,” said Hubbs. WSRE is working with the Chamber of Commerce and the Health Department to develop a series of town hall meetings. The meetings will focus on topics such as how to file a claim with BP, potential health effects and taking proper safety measures. The public will be encouraged to attend and ask question on air and via the web.
For more information about WSRE’s Connecting the Community Series and community resources, visit http://www.wsre.org/OilSpill/index.asp.