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Press release from PR Newswire

Scripps Making Free Airtime Available to Candidates in Upcoming Campaigns

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Scripps Making Free Airtime Available to Candidates in Upcoming Campaigns16:00 EDT Tuesday, September 28, 2010Television stations launching Democracy 2010 initiativeCINCINNATI, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) is launching Democracy 2010, a public discourse initiative that will make free airtime available to political candidates on the nine network-affiliated television stations operated by the company. The Scripps stations will provide five minutes of free airtime to candidates nightly between 5 p.m. and 11:35 p.m. in the 30 days preceding the general elections in 2010. The Scripps television station group successfully implemented a similar free airtime policy during the national elections in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. "As journalists and broadcasters, we are proud to continue our heritage of promoting public discourse and a strong democracy," said Brian Lawlor, senior vice president for the Scripps television division. "Through Democracy 2010, Scripps will concentrate on bringing individual citizens and groups of citizens into an active dialogue with candidates." Here are the key elements of Democracy 2010: Scripps stations will provide a minimum of five minutes of free airtime to candidates daily between 5 p.m. and 11:35 p.m. in the 30 days preceding the general elections. The free airtime will be offered to candidates in a variety of formats including debates, extended interviews, issue statements or responses to citizens' inquiries. Internet sites operated by Scripps television stations will feature election-related content in a special stand-alone section that will include candidate positions on issues, voter registration information, information on the offices being sought and descriptions of political jurisdictional boundaries. Links to candidate Web sites will be included when available. "Get out the vote" public service announcements will be given priority clearance in each station's public service inventory during the 30-day period prior to a primary and general election. Scripps stations will concentrate editorially on exploring key local issues during each of the 30 days leading up to the general election. News coverage will be developed through an interactive process with local citizens and citizen groups. Scripps stations will pursue special programming such as town hall meetings and debates during the 30 days leading up to the general election. Making free airtime available to political candidates was one of the primary recommendations made in 2000 by the President's Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters. The Scripps television stations are concentrated in the top 40 U.S. markets and reach about 10 percent of the nation's television households. Participating in Democracy 2010 are the company's six ABC-affiliated stations, WXYZ in Detroit; WCPO in Cincinnati; WEWS in Cleveland; WFTS in Tampa, Fla.; WMAR in Baltimore; and KNXV in Phoenix. Also participating are the company's three NBC-affiliated stations, WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla.; KSHB in Kansas City, Mo.; and KJRH in Tulsa, Okla. SOURCE The E.W. Scripps CompanyFor further information: Tim King, The E.W. Scripps Company, +1-513-977-3732, tim.king@scripps.com