RELIGIOUS BROADCASTING IN AMERICA PROJECT
ENHANCES TV CENTER'S ARCHIVES
Religious broadcasting pioneer Pat Robertson appears in only one widely used textbook on broadcasting history, and that reference simply identifies him as a former presidential candidate. “The fact that he did innovative work using a small cable operation to get international exposure—the kind of thing that would get anybody in a textbook—is not mentioned at all,” says David Marc, Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Popular Television. “Secular historians have political problems with people like Pat Robertson. They think of him as a right-winger who they’re not going to glorify, so he gets left out. To leave him out of broadcasting history is simply to be a bad historian. You can say anything you want about him, negative or positive, but to leave him out is a mistake.”
David Marc believes religious broadcasters should be included in broadcasting history.|
Marc corrected that mistake by interviewing Robertson—founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and host of its program The 700 Club for the center’s Religious Broadcasting in America project. Funded by a $177,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment, Marc has videotaped interviews with 24 religious broadcasting pioneers, such as the first female CBS vice president, Pamela Ilott, who developed cultural and religious programming in the ’50s.
Marc came to SU in 1997, bringing with him videotapes for an oral history of television archive he’d started at UCLA. He added his work to the center, which was begun by television-radio-film professor Robert Thompson. Under Scheuer Foundation grants from 1997 to 1999, the center amassed 178 taped interviews with television network presidents, news directors, producers, and stars. The Lilly Endowment grant enabled Marc to add religious broadcasters to the archive, which, having focused on national television networks, reflected their general lack of religious programming. “Lilly’s mission is to support projects that keep religion in the mainstream of American culture,” he says. “Now here’s an archive meant for the use of mainstream historians.”
Marc allowed interviewees as much time as they wanted, and made it clear he was there merely to record what they had to say. The latter was particularly important while interviewing the controversial Robertson. “Here was a mainstream secular historian letting him say his piece,” Marc says. “If he’s getting enough rope to hang himself, so be it. If he’s making a clear and cogent statement about things that are cloudy in the press, all the better. But let it be in his words rather than a historian quoting another historian, on what they think he might have said because somebody read it in The New York Times.”
CLINICAL NURSING STUDENTS IMPROVE HEALTH CARE AT LOCAL HOMLESS SHELTER
When College of Nursing professor Mary Wilde came to Syracuse in August 1999, she jumped at the chance to create a program that would allow Syracuse University nursing students to work at the Rescue Mission, a local organization that provides shelter and services for homeless people. “The homeless are an extremely vulnerable population,” Wilde says. “It is important for community health nurses to be available to people who are homeless.”
Last year, Wilde worked extensively to integrate the Rescue Mission program into Community Health, a mandatory course for senior nursing majors. Of the 45 students who participated in the class, 8 worked at the Rescue Mission. This past fall, 4 students continued to develop this practical site with Wilde. “It’s wonderful that these students want to give nursing care to homeless men,” Wilde says.
Students in the course are required to perform 45 hours of clinical nursing at a placement site of their choice. They participate in clinical nursing education with local schools and such organizations as the Visiting Nurse Association, which provides home health care for clients, and the Rescue Mission. As part of the course, Wilde also has the students discuss their field experiences and give seminars in class on such topics as disease prevention and caring for specific illnesses.
The Rescue Mission, located in Syracuse, provides a variety of services, including substance abuse intervention, psychiatric counseling, food, and shelter. “The Rescue Mission didn’t really have anyone who spoke the language of nursing, or have a good idea of what was needed,” Wilde says. “The patients didn’t have access to a regular health care provider, and the students have filled that void.”
Previously, the Rescue Mission had only a nurse working with the alcohol treatment program and a psychiatric nurse on staff. Now, Wilde’s students provide clinical help for common health concerns that would be addressed in regular medical check-ups, such as blood pressure and eyesight. “The Rescue Mission is important because it aims to turn these people’s lives around through its Christian-centered program,” says Sean Murphy ’01, a nursing major who worked at the shelter during the fall semester. “The experience confirmed why I want to be a nurse.”
John Eberle, director of basic needs at the Rescue Mission, says the students have become a great asset. “They have provided wonderful health care education to the men here who have diabetes,” he says.
To assist the students in their work, the shelter set up an enclosed room that allows the students to evaluate patients and talk privately with them about their health concerns. “Being at the Rescue Mission allows you to realize what’s important in your own life, while serving a population that a lot of people seem to have forgotten,” Murphy says. “It’s a compassionate organization, and they say miracles do happen there.”
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