George Mason and WETA Partner with Broadcast of Sesno Reports

Posted: February 13, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

by Jocelyn Rappaport

George Mason and WETA public television are collaborating to produce a new public affairs series beginning Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. on WETA TV 26. The hour-long series is hosted by Frank Sesno, veteran journalist, former CNN Washington bureau chief, and George Mason professor of public policy and communication.

Frank Sesno
Frank Sesno

The first of the series will take place in Harris Theatre on the Fairfax Campus. Sesno Reports premieres with “Target Washington,” during which Sesno will consider the threat of terrorism from a practical point of view. “Today, no single issue is more frightening, more worrisome to area residents than the ongoing threat of another terrorist attack,” Sesno says. “The first show will focus on the national capital region’s preparedness, the role citizens can play, and whether the money spent on homeland security has made us safer.”

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is scheduled to participate. Other participants include Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams, other elected officials, medical professionals and first responders, business leaders, educators, and area residents.

“George Mason is unique in its commitment and service to the communities of our region,” says President Alan Merten. “This latest partnership with WETA to co-produce this TV series on issues of importance to our communities–and featuring one of our outstanding faculty members–demonstrates that commitment and service.”

Subsequent programs will include an examination of the budget crises facing the states and the tax initiatives proposed in Maryland and Virginia to pay for basic services; an innovative look at the next wave of the technology sector transforming our region; the challenges facing our health care system; and the growth, sprawl, and congestion that now define many of our communities. The series plans to go beyond the problems by exploring solutions that can actually make a difference. Sesno is expected to bring his well-known ability to engage fresh, diverse voices and perspectives as he encourages an exploration of pressing issues. will enhance the series with an interactive companion web site. The site will provide viewers with information, resources, and perspectives that can be viewed long after the show has aired.

Gifts to The Campaign for George Mason University helped launch production of the new series. Funding comes from the Peterson Family Foundation, Albert and Claire Dwoskin, Edward and Marilynn Bersoff, and the Bedford Falls Foundation. Carolyn Peterson of the Peterson Family Foundation, Al Dwoskin, and Ed Bersoff are George Mason University Foundation trustees. Marilynn Bersoff is a George Mason alumna (MBA ’00). Corporate donors include Washington Area Subaru Dealers and Accenture. Additional funding comes from The Annenberg Foundation in support of the WETA Program Trust.

Taping of the show on Feb. 24 is open to the public, although attendees must register in advance on the WETA web site by Wednesday, Feb. 18. Photo IDs will be required for admission; doors will open at 11 a.m., and the town hall will take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

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