Yahoo! News Launches ‘Remake America,’ an Unprecedented Docu-Series That Integrates Audience, News Coverage
Original video series chronicles the lives of six American families; viewers offer their ideas and solutions for the issues facing Americans today
SUNNYVALE, California, March, 8, 2012 – Yahoo! News, the #1 online news destination, today announced the launch of “Remake America,” a new weekly video series that follows the lives of six real families as they strive to get back on track towards achieving “the American dream.” Yahoo! News is putting citizens at the forefront of elections coverage by following the personal stories of real Americans throughout the year and enabling citizens to propose solutions to the challenges and opportunities facing our nation through social channels and tools. The reality series will offer a lens, through the eyes of real families, into the political issues at the forefront of the 2012 elections, including the impact of unemployment, healthcare, veteran affairs, and the housing market.
“Remake America,” an original Yahoo! series in collaboration with Trium, aims to spark a national conversation among Yahoo!’s audience of more than 170 million users in the United States [i] around the issues American families face every day. The series will offer the Yahoo! community an opportunity to join the discussion by offering their own solutions and guidance. Comments, personal stories, and anecdotes can all be posted on the “Remake America” conversations page and America will be able to follow these families through social media. During the program, Yahoo! News and ABC News experts will work with the “Remake America” families through specific situations, offering direct advice and tips that will help them break through roadblocks and create life-changing solutions.
“‘Remake America’ is an important project that puts real faces and names to issues Americans can relate to,” said Robertson Barrett, VP of Yahoo! News and Finance. “Yahoo! believes it is vital that the voices and lives of Americans be heard in order to establish a lasting community and to influence change.”
“We’re not sugar-coating the reality of the challenges that these families, and so many others, are facing,” said Jared Tobman, Executive Producer of Trium. “Our goal is to use the incredible reach of Yahoo! to help Americans come together to find real solutions?”
The series kicks off Thursday, March 8 by introducing viewers to John and Michelle of Little Falls, NJ – a couple of nineteen years with three children – who have found themselves near bankruptcy and debt due to job loss. John received tough news in 2011 when he was laid off from the job he loved helping disaster survivors through a non-profit. To make matters worse, Michelle has hit in her career path, which could put an additional strain on the family’s finances. The episode explores this families strain as they attempt to overcome economic challenges.
Experts from various fields will provide counsel to families throughout “Remake America.” The experts include [expanded bios at end of release]:
· Tory Johnson, the workplace contributor committed to providing career services, tools, and resources toward successful small business ownership.
· Farnoosh Torabi , the personal finance expert and author dedicated to helping individuals and families take control of their finances, save, pay down debt and live a more fulfilling, goal-driven life.
· Dr. Richard Besser, the veteran health and medical expert with an expertise in public health
Following the first episode viewers will be introduced to the five additional families, every Monday (starting March 19), in five-minute, TV-quality Webisodes on Yahoo! News. Meet the “Remake America” families:
· Bill and Donna; Erin (Calabash, NC; Charleston, SC)
Bill and Donna have always lived “the American dream,” owning two homes, traveling the world and providing for their three children. But all that changed drastically when Bill suffered a stroke. After realizing he could no longer work at the level he did, Bill decided to open his own business which is now on the brink of collapse due to the economy.
Erin G., Bill and Donna’s daughter (and single mom of three-year-old twins), has been struggling to keep her head above water. Erin was facing foreclosure in the past year and has decided to take on a roommate, another single mom with a 4 year old child, to help supplement her mortgage payment.
· Kyle and Krystal (Mt. Pleasant, MI)
Kyle and Krystal are a young couple that has already survived more traumatic events than most families experience in a lifetime. Kyle, now a wounded veteran after losing his right hand, is facing a new chapter in his life both as a father and in a currently undetermined career. Kyle and Krystal’s oldest child suffers from a rare genetic disorder, which makes it difficult for them to work full time since they must provide her with round-the-clock-care.
· Leslie (Phoenix, AZ)
Despite losing her job as a successful real estate agent, Leslie tries to keep a “glass half full” mentality, despite going on more than 100 job interviews with no result and finding herself a victim of job scams. Facing major financial difficulty, Leslie has been forced to live in her guest house while renting out her main home.
· Kirk and LaTosha (Houston, TX)
Kirk and LaTosha were a two-income family until Kirk was laid off from his IT job, the family was forced to drastically change its lifestyle. Now they’re one paycheck away from homelessness. Ironically, LaTosha, who works as a government counselor connecting families with income assistance programs, cannot utilize those programs because her family’s income still falls over the maximum amount to qualify for assistance.
· José and Starlight (Austin, TX)
After moving across the country for a law school program, Starlight became sick and lost her scholarship. Without a strong credit score, she was not eligible for a student loan and has been forced to withdraw from school. Following numerous health concerns for both Starlight and her son, who has been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, the family is on the brink of homelessness with no income to pay for living expenses or health insurance.
“Remake America” will also team up with U.S. charities to aid the six families that appear on “Remake America” and others like them. Through these charities, viewers will have an opportunity to find resources and expert advice, as well as support other families in similar situations across the U.S.
“Remake America” is a key part of Destination 2012, Yahoo! News’ ambitious yearlong elections program, which is engaging millions of citizens in conversation about the political and economic issues facing the nation. Yahoo! reaches nearly 90 percent of the nation’s online voting age adults each month – more than any other media company – and Yahoo! users will ultimately help determine the outcome of the U.S. elections. Having built a talented network of voices, including a DC bureau team, Yahoo!’s first White House Correspondent, and adding the analytical expertise of Yahoo! Labs through “The Signal,” Yahoo! is poised to be a key source for original reporting, dynamic video programming, and shared opinions this election season. For more visit http://news.yahoo.com/elections/remake-america/.