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FocusWest Unites the Public with Public Affairs

FocusWest is a consortium of public television stations committed to covering significant public affairs issues in the Intermountain West. Now in its second season, the project brings together local and regional perspectives, and aims to deepen and enhance understanding of significant public issues. Together, Idaho Public Television, KNPB Channel 5/Reno, KUED/Salt Lake City, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and Wyoming Public Television bring unique strengths of television, print and new digital media to encourage greater understanding of, and involvement in, regional civic affairs.

FocusWest is funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

In the rural West there are often limited choices available to obtain information about public affairs - newspapers, broadcast news, regional magazines and Internet access choices are less numerous than in urban areas. They can be more expensive than for urban dwellers, difficult to receive and sometimes impossible to obtain altogether. Public television's digital television (DTV) services may be the digital media that reaches even the most rural residents.

The FocusWest project is demonstrating in a variety of ways how analog television, digital television, the Web and DVD can work together to offer a richer, more versatile, user-directed public affairs resource. For each topic, FocusWest covers different capabilities of emerging digital technology which explore the potential of DTV.

In addition, FocusWest:

  • Makes special efforts to identify issues of interest to Tribal and Latino populations.
  • Provides targeted regional news in collaboration with Headwaters News at the University of Montana.
  • Enhances each partner's local public affairs programming.
  • Coalesces and expands distribution of international programming from WorldlinkTV.

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