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Syracuse Stations Work Together to Combat Child Abuse

The stations fight each other fiercely the rest of the year, but for a brief spell, the various Syracuse local media outlets worked hand in hand for the public good. The commercial and PBS stations, along with cable net YNN and local radio, worked together to produce the special Protecting Our Children, which aired April 25, typically at 7-8 p.m., on the various stations.

"It was a really powerful collaborative effort that was in the best interests of our community," says Theresa Underwood, vice president and general manager of market leader WSYR.

The special featured input from outlets owned by Barrington, Granite, Sinclair, Newport and Time Warner Cable, among others, and weekly meetings to bring it all together.

The topic of child abuse became front and center in Syracuse following allegations of molesting against former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine late last year. An investigation is ongoing.

The Syracuse outlets last worked in unison on a drug abuse special almost two decades ago.

"It's a very competitive market but we came together," says Ron Lombard, news director at YNN's Central N.Y. operation, who mentioned that a phone bank led to at least two investigations of abuse. "We're all very proud of what we could do to raise awareness of the issue."