BALTIMORE, March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (the "Company" or "Sinclair") (NASDAQ: SBGI), announces the launch of a special news unit to investigate the Baltimore-Area Public Education system. The "Project Baltimore" investigative team will examine the unique challenges that confront the area's public school systems.
A significant emphasis will be centered on Baltimore County and Baltimore City Public Schools. Using Baltimore City as an example, more than 80,000 children attend Baltimore City Public Schools and the cost of their education exceeds $1.2 billion annually. Yet student test scores and graduation rates remain low, while drop-out rates remain high.
"The spending per student is among the highest in the country, so we are asking, 'what are the students, parents and taxpayers getting for their money?'" commented Sinclair's Vice President of News, Scott Livingston.
The team of seven journalists will probe a wide array of topics including budgets, school facilities, test scores, teacher pay, school violence, athletics, unions and other components of the education system. "We have one bold and ambitious goal, to save and improve public education. We're doing this because we believe if we don't, then no one will," added Livingston.
"The Project Baltimore unit will look into every aspect of the Baltimore City and County public school systems and uncover and report on the successes and failures of these enormous governmental entities. We will hold leaders accountable and be an advocate for the people. That's part of our core mission," Livingston said.
The Project Baltimore investigative team will be based in Sinclair's corporate headquarters in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Their reports will begin airing on Sinclair's Baltimore television station, FOX 45, later this month. Bill Fanshawe, FOX 45 General Manager, says the station will work closely with the Project Baltimore team.
"Our newsroom is very excited about this important investigative initiative. We believe this content will be of very high interest to viewers across our region. Baltimore and the surrounding areas are terrific places and the area's families deserve the best education system available," said Fanshawe.
"This is a long-term project," said Sinclair's Director of News Content, Bill Anderson. "There are many layers to this story. It can't be told in a week or a month. These continuing reports will air year-round."
Lead investigative reporter, Chris Papst, says the team is committed to telling all aspects of the story. "There are many encouraging things happening in the public school systems, and we will highlight those success stories. But there are a significant number of troubling aspects of public education and those stories need to be told. The voiceless need a voice -- and we will give it to them through Project Baltimore," said Papst.
Sinclair is one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country. The Company currently owns, operates and/or provides services to 173 television stations in 81 markets, broadcasting 513 channels and having affiliations with all the major networks. Sinclair is a leading local news provider in the country, as well as a producer of live sports content. Sinclair's content is delivered via multiple-platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital platforms. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at www.sbgi.net.
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SOURCE Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.