Twin Cities Public Television aims to humanize the Constitution

Annie Anderson
Engagement and Inclusion Manager
Public Insight Network
TPT's Constitution in 5 words

“The Constitution in #5words” from PIN source Stefanie of Plymouth, Minn. Explore more on Constitution USA’s Tumblr blog.

Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), based in St. Paul, Minn., is just completing a documentary for PBS stations called “Constitution USA with Peter Sagal.” The program, which has been years in the making, will air on PBS stations May 14 and 21, 2013.

Sagal hosts of the popular public radio show “Wait, wait…don’t tell me!,” so producers expect the film to draw a a broader audience than typical public television programs might. They’re also hoping that the documentary’s large educational component and accompanying web presence will extend its impact to classrooms and countries beyond PBS’s usual reach.

The TPT staff created a Tumblr blog to highlight some of the behind-the-scenes activities and thoughts that the film’s creators want to share as the production process unfolds. This approach helps build interest and engagement among the audience even before program’s official website launches.

TPT‘s Heidi Van Heel shared with me her station’s early plans for including the Public Insight Network in this project, which has a potentially very long tail:

“TPT’s PIN team will reach out to the network every 3-4 weeks through [the] spring [of] 2013 with questions specific to the Constitution and its relevance in daily life.

Responses will initially be posted on Constitution USA’s Tumblr blog and could eventually become a full page on the Constitution USA website featuring the voice of the people and the power of democracy.”

PIN sources are contributing a key element to the blog by responding to a simple query asking what the Constitution means to them — in only five words. They’re now following this up with asking sources to *show* them what the Constitution represents to them by submitting photos via a PIN query. The responses keep coming in and are driving the bulk of their blog content.




Annie Anderson Engagement and Inclusion Manager
Public Insight Network

Annie Anderson has the privilege of working with PIN partners around the country, providing training, coaching and support. In the last two years she has focused on diversifying and growing the Network. She specializes in community engagement opportunities and counseling.

While earning a master’s in public policy from the Humphrey School, she yearned for journalism by the people that could inform and respond to policy. Enter PIN: journalistic civic agency at its finest. She deeply believes that everyone is an expert and knows their own experience better than anyone else.