WPBT2 and Florida International University Partner to Promote HIV/AIDS Awareness


Miami, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/28/2009 -- WPBT2 and Florida International University are working together in bringing HIV/ AIDS awareness to South Florida. In 2008 the Associate Dean at Florida International University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) Allan Richards and two journalism students Jillian Simms and Tiffany Parkes traveled to South Africa and discovered how one the hardest hit regions in the world was dealing with the HIV/ AIDS epidemic. Once back in South Florida, Richards produced a documentary titled, Lessons from South Africa. The documentary contrasts South Africa’s and South Florida’s method of dealing with HIV/ AIDS awareness, which Richards noted was sharply different. Richards approached FIU colleague Kate MacMillin to work on this project. MacMillin produced a web documentary The Stigma Stops with Me, which portrays the life of Damaries Cruz a woman infected with HIV.

In April 2009 Richards and MacMillin contacted Neal Hecker, Vice President of Program Services at WPBT2 with the documentary and an idea for a special program on Channel 2. “It seemed to me that what Allan and Kate had developed was something that needed greater exposure, it needed to be seen and discussed and not just broadcast on TV” said Hecker. Tell Somebody is a one hour documentary which combines Lessons from South Africa, The Stigma Stops, and a panel discussion on HIV/ AIDS. It will air on WPBT2 (Channel 2) on National Latino AIDS Awareness Day- October 15, 2009 at 10:00pm.

But WBPT2 and SJMC have also created an online website www.tellsomebodynow.com. The site contains important information on HIV/ AIDS such as: facts, resources, videos, articles, interviews and a sneak preview of the Tell Somebody documentary. Central to the site are personal reflections of some of the SJMC students involved in the project.

The Tell Somebody documentary and website serve as a way to bring HIV/ AIDS awareness from a global level to a more local and a personal level. It strives to not only educate, but to empower people to act now and engage with others around the issues raised.

About WPBT2
South Florida’s premier public broadcaster, WPBT2, is a community-licensed, not-for-profit media enterprise serving communities from the Treasure Coast to the Florida Keys. WPBT2 provides high quality content from PBS, independent acquisitions and its own original productions. WPBT2’s digital media platform, offers: 2HD, a 24-hour high definition channel; Digital 2.2, a mix of Science & Nature Channel, Culturas, The Florida Channel and Create; Digital 2.3, V-me, a 24-hour national Spanish-language network; and http://www.wpbt2.org, the WPBT2 website including, Impromp2 (a community blog), and uVu, a video sharing website. Based in Miami, WPBT2 is also home of the Emmy award-winning national PBS series, Nightly Business Report (http://pbs.org/nbr).


Cammy Richards, cammy_richards@wpbt.org, 305-424-4013
Natalia Villegas, natalia_villegas@wpbt.org, 305-424-4190