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Category: Public Journalism

Public Broadcasting, Media Engagement, and 2-1-1

“Public Broadcasting, Media Engagement, and 2-1-1: Using Mass Communication to Increase the Use of Social Services,” Dhavan V. Shah, Douglas M. McLeod, Hernando Rojas, Benjamin G. Sayre, Emily Vraga, Rosanne M. Scholl, Clive Jones, and Amy Shaw. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 43, S443–S449, December, 2012.


Background: The 2008–2009 subprime mortgage crisis was catastrophic, not only for the global economy but for families across the social spectrum. The resultant economic upheaval threatened the livelihoods, well-being, and health of many citizens, who were often unsure where to turn for help. At this critical juncture, public broadcasting stations worked to connect viewers to support resources through 2-1-1.

Purpose: This study was designed to evaluate the ability of public broadcasting to increase the use of information and referral services. Methods: Autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) modeling and regression analysis document the relationship between public broadcasting initiatives and 2-1-1 call volume in 35 highly affected U.S. markets. Time-series data from St. Louis MO were collected and analyzed in 2008. Station-level data from across the nation were collected during 2009–2010 and analyzed in 2010.

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