Does your school still have Channel One News?
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Houghton Mifflin/Channel One News

Channel One News is a youth marketing company whose main purpose is to get advertising to a captive audience of impressionable schoolchildren. The company loans a school TV equipment in exchange for the school’s contractual pledge to show students a daily, 12-minute, hyper-commercial, TV program called Channel One News. Students lose one hour a week of schools time, which equates to one lost week of instructional time (32 hours) per year. No educational organization endorses the use of Channel One News.

Channel One has fallen on very hard times. Once they claimed over 8 million students were under contract. Since 1997 they have continued to lose schools and now they claim “nearly five million” students and the true figure is probably lower.

In May 2014, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquired Channel One from ZelnickMedia the makers of the ultra-violent Grand Thief Auto video game series. Houghton Mifflin did not disclose the purchase price.

At the end of 2014 most of Channel One’s full-paying advertisers have abandoned the program.

Channel One Is Not Intended For Pre-Teens

September 24, 1997

Although Channel One says a school may show its TV show from 12th grade to 6th, they state repeatedly, in their own contract and sales literature, that the show is intended for teenagers. This ambiguity puts middle school principals and their superintendents and school boards in an awkward position. 6th and 7th grade students...
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TV in School Steals Time From Alabama’s Schoolchildren

September 21, 1997

Alabama schoolchildren are being robbed and taxpayers are getting fleeced by a TV show. Even though it has been denounced by virtually every major educational organization, many Montgomery-area schoolchildren are forced to watch Channel One. Channel One is the controversial 12-minute news show that is designed for a teenage consumer audience. Two minutes are...
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Call For Channel One Advertisers

September 20, 1997

Who are the national advertisers on Channel One? If you are monitoring Channel One in your community email Obligation with the names of the products and services you see on the show. Parents and other taxpayers need to know who the corporations are that underwrite this controversial TV show. We will be adding a...
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Wall Street Journal Article – Channel One Taps Principals As Promoters

September 15, 1997

Obligation contributed information for a superb article in the Wall Street Journal today. It centered on one small part of the Channel One Problem: using principals as lackeys for Channel One advertisers. Principals have handed out Arizona jeans discount coupons and kept petitions for students to sign for a Reebok promotion. Snapple, Pepsi, and...
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So You Have Channel One in Your School

September 10, 1997

  Obligation has received calls from Kansas to Florida, Minnesota to Massachusetts, asking for information about Channel One. Our organization has been swamped, and we again apologize for the length of time it has taken to respond to calls and to get packets of information out. If you have Channel One, this would be a suggested course of action:...
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Letter Sent to Alabama State Superintendent

August 29, 1997

Dr. Ed Richardson State Superintendent of Education State Department of Education P. O. Box 302101 Montgomery, AL 36130-2101 Dear Dr. Richardson: Obligation, Inc. requests a list of all state public schools that have a contract that requires the showing of the Channel One television show. At present, there appears to be no accounting, at...
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Channel One Criticized for R-Rated Movie Reviews

August 15, 1997

  (Birmingham, AL) The companion website for the controversial in-school TV show Channel One has generated controversy of its own. The TV show and website both have a target audience of teens and pre-teens, yet this summer the Channel One website reviewed raunchy R-rated movies for kids. Obligation is a Birmingham-based child advocacy organization. It has monitored all aspects...
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School Boards Urged to Turn Channel One Off

August 6, 1997

(Birmingham, AL) Obligation, Inc. is a Birmingham-based child advocacy group involved in many children’s television issues including educational programming and TV ratings. They are urging school boards to immediately remove the controversial Channel One TV show from Alabama classrooms. "School boards that have sold Channel One unprecedented access to Alabama school children are wasting...
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A Math Exercise For Vestavia Hills Parents

May 15, 1997

Pizitz Middle School removed Channel One News in 2011. This math exercise helped show citizens how much Channel One cost.  Vestavia Hills is a suburb of Birmingham, AL. $ .0945 * Cost To Taxpayers For One Minute Of Pizitz Middle School Time Per Student X 12 Channel One Is At Least 12 Minutes Long $ 1.13...
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How To Be Stupid – The Lessons Of Channel One

May 1, 1997

From Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting Extra! May/June 1997 How to be Stupid The Lessons of Channel One By Mark Crispin Miller News, of course, is not the point of Channel One-any more than it’s the point of those commercial TV newscasts that many of us watch at home night after night. If the basic...
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