21st Century

November 3, 2009

Perhaps the flagship program for UNTV is their ‘21st Century’ television series.

 As the 21st Century web page states, these programs put a

 “spotlight on the world’s most underreported stories. Each episode features 2-3 character-driven, human interest stories that reflect some of the most important issues affecting the world, and our lives today. Our cameras offer unique and often unparalleled access to people and places and stay to bring you the stories as they unfold over time, long after other news outlets leave. From the child labor situation in Tanzania to the woman’s struggle in Afghanistan, from the poverty streets in Somalia, to the frontline of the guerilla war in Colombia, this series brings home the stories viewers care about, but rarely see.”

 Unlike UNIFEED, that offers footage featuring the UN’s work around the world, 21st Century is presented as a fully-packaged programme with a professional anchor, similar in style to a TV feature series you would find being offered by an international broadcaster.

 This format, incorporating “narrative storytelling with balanced, accurate reporting” and which is adaptable to local languages has proved very successful – currently 50 international broadcasters air the magazine monthly, including BBC World and RTVE

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UNTV at 60

November 3, 2009

So, why have my last few posts showcased the UN’s digital communications platforms specifically for television? The answer is that this Thursday, 5 November, UNTV will celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Over that period, UNTV has documented events that changed the history of many parts of the world, such as the end of apartheid in South Africa, the restoration of peace in Central America, the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and the birth of a new country, Timor-Leste, to mention a few.

At UN Headquarters in New York, UNTV covers live meetings in the Security Council and the General Assembly and press encounters and concerts almost every day, with its work sometimes involving over a dozen cameras at any one time.

A recent development has been to enable New Yorkers to receive UNTV through Time Warner cable on Channel 150. However, thanks to the digital communications platforms set up for the service, people around the world can watch UNTV coverage wherever they are. 

As I have mentioned previously, the channel is also interactive with a presence on YouTube, engaging a new generation of viewers, and regular series are produced to tell the UN story in programs such as 21st Century and UN in Action (see posts below). UNTV’s work over 60 years has generated more than 150 prizes from the international broadcasting industry. I wonder what the next 60 years of UNTV will bring, or if it will even exist in another 60 years…