WXXI Public Media Live Forum Series


In April of 2020, our community was desperate for information and guidance on the coronavirus and the government-issued protocols. With Rochester being home to some of the top scientists and researchers at the forefront of the national response, WXXI used the power of public media to help our community disseminate all the information.

In order to help educate the public and provide a chance for the community to ask direct questions, we developed and produced the WXXI Live Forum series. Moderated by Evan Dawson, host of Connections, WXXI’s daily radio talk show, the six-part series addressed multiple issues affecting our region connected with the pandemic.

Using our live television and radio broadcast, along with live streaming capabilities and our on-demand offerings, we were able to reach audiences across numerous platforms – where they wanted to access it, when they wanted to access it. This provided an opportunity to enlighten the public about the importance of science and scientific research in the context of the public health crisis and beyond. The forums also shed light on how the pandemic has affected people in minority communities.

Scientists and clinicians across the Rochester community, including the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and Rochester Regional Health, along with our Commissioner of Public Health, the County Executive, and leaders most involved with community-wide response efforts were present to answer questions from our viewing public. After the broadcast, we provided more time online to address any additional topics that the broadcast wasn’t able to address during the hour.

The episodes included:
• Fighting COVID-19
• Racial Disparities in Rochester
• Restarting the Economy
• The Impact of COVID-19 on People with Disabilities
• Reopening Schools
• Vaccines on the Horizon