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Culture Shock:

Challenges & Lessons Learned

The Culture Shock project took seven years from the first educational outreach proposals to the series premiere. Fundraising was a painful process. The original budget was somewhat limited compared to many educational outreach projects WGBH initiates. There was money to develop materials and hire an educational outreach coordinator, but not enough to support the coordinator beyond paying her phone bill. Much of the educational outreach project was the result of her persuasive personality and the compelling subject matter; the National Association for Campus Activities covered the cost of distributing materials to its constituency, as did Borders Books and Music.

Working with potentially controversial material presented another challenge to both the Culture Shock series and educational outreach teams. The Web site producers found that this challenge ultimately strengthened the project by forcing the Web team to consider a wide range of viewpoints, making significant use of advisors who reviewed the site, helped refine its editorial mission, and specified how and by whom the site should be used.

One lesson learned by WGBH is that sometimes the best educational outreach can be created around a subset of a series. Once outreach staff screened the rough cut for the Huck Finn episode "Born to Trouble," they knew they had a perfect vehicle for a very focused educational outreach initiative. The Ford Foundation agreed, and the educational outreach initiative was expanded. Because many funders had already signed on to the full series-based outreach initiative, WGBH ultimately implemented both the full series initiative and the more targeted Huck Finn effort.

In this section:

    Auschwitz: Inside the
    Nazi State

    Building Big

    Culture Shock

        Goals & Audience

        Outreach Elements


>      Challenges &
        Lessons Learned



    In Search of Shakespeare

    Lewis & Clark:
    The Journey of the
    Corps of Discovery

    My Journey Home

    The New Americans

    Poetic License


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