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National NOW Times >> Spring 2002 >> Article

NOW Kicks-Off Third Annual Watch Out, Listen Up!

by Lisa Bennett, Communications Director

TV networks better "Watch Out" this spring because NOW activists across the country will be monitoring television programming for the third year in a row. NOW's Watch Out, Listen Up! campaign has proven a success at informing viewers, inspiring grassroots activism and drawing media attention. The project is designed to let the networks know that they are responsible for the content they air and to educate the public about the importance of media activism.

"The U.S. government gave the broadcast networks free use of the airwaves, a resource owned by the people, in exchange for serving the public interest," said NOW President Kim Gandy. "Even more giveaways and fewer regulations are likely during the Bush administration. Someone has to hold the broadcasters accountable."

The NOW Action Center is setting up teams of feminist TV viewers who will rate all of the primetime programming on the six broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB and UPN. The shows will be graded on their portrayal of women and girls according to four specific criteria: gender composition and diversity, violent content, sexual exploitation and social responsibility. The results will be compiled and released in June.

This year NOW is adding a new component to the survey. High school and college students will analyze their local newscasts according to similar criteria. "We're looking forward to having even more Watch Out, Listen Up! participants this year," Gandy said. "The more voices we raise, the more the networks have to listen."

It may not be too late to volunteer! You can choose to volunteer as an individual, but getting your friends or chapter members together for a house party can be fun. If you haven't already, send an email to communications@now.org with your name or your team leader's name, email address and mailing address. If we still need field analysts, we will contact you immediately, get you signed up to start and send you the materials you need to "Watch Out, Listen Up!"

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