CPB Launches History and Civics Initiative

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has announced a $20 million American History and Civics Initiative to create groundbreaking media projects and methods that measurably improve the learning of American history and civics by middle and high school students.

The initiative looks to combine interactive platforms like the Internet and video games with more established formats, such as documentary film and broadcast television. CPB Senior Vice President of Television Programming Michael Pack explains that CPB is looking for projects that will be useful in classrooms, have staying power and will be financially sustaining. A managing partner will run each project, with key partners executing different components. Says Pack, "It seemed to us impossible for one institution to achieve all those different sub-goals. We expect producers to be an element of those partnerships, as it is a process that depends in part on the kind of creativity and imaginative energy that independent producers have."

Pack says that CPB is open to a variety of subject topics and approaches, and fully expects to receive many proposals that focus on the controversies in American history. "I don't want to overly guide producers, though," he adds. "While CPB wants imaginative and creative ideas, in the end it has to be a product that deals with something that teachers and students find important and useful. Our goal is not to simply fulfill what we think students need, but to give them what they actually need."

Those interested in applying can find more information at http://www.cpb.org/grants/historyandcivics. The application deadline is September 8, 2005.


Tamara Krinsky is associate editor of Documentary.