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Our history and mission

TVW was founded in 1993 and went on air in 1995 offering unedited coverage of Washington state government, politics and public policy.

The Stage is Set for TVW

The final decades of the 20th century saw many changes in news coverage of government and politics. C-SPAN blazed the trail for unedited gavel-to-gavel coverage of government deliberations when it was created in 1979 to cover the federal government. During the 1980s and 90s the federal government transferred many major policy decisions to the states – yet, at the same time, television news departments were making sharp cuts in their coverage of state government and politics, to say nothing of local/national politics.

Founding and Guiding Principles

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Open government

Government belongs to the people of Washington, who deserve complete access to the workings of their state government.

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Nonpartisan coverage

We seek to tell authentic stories, stay meticulously nonpartisan and let viewers make their own decisions about the issues.

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Civics education

We work to educate Washingtonians of all ages about their state government, and invite them to engage and participate.

Unedited, “Gavel-to-Gavel” Coverage

TVW made history with the first-ever televised state court proceeding when it went on the air April 10, 1995, televising a death penalty case being heard by the Washington State Supreme Court. Facts and figures about TVW programming:

  • From the start TVW has covered all three branches of state government – legislative, executive, and judicial.
  • TVW covers ALL House and Senate committee hearings and floor debates at the State Capitol.
  • TVW covers ALL WA State Supreme Court oral arguments, both inside and outside Olympia.
  • TVW offers comprehensive coverage of state elections – the nine statewide elected offices, key legislative races, and ballot measures.
  • TVW provides unedited coverage of state agencies, boards and commissions – examples include the Transportation Commission and Fish & Wildlife Commission.
  • Besides covering the State Capitol, TVW travels throughout the state to cover hearings and public policy events in Seattle, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Bellingham, Vancouver, and many other locations.

TVW Reporting

Through its award-winning produced programs, TVW gives the public compelling, balanced, nonpartisan reporting on current public policy topics. TVW’s produced programs include:

  • Inside Olympia – In-depth interviews with state leaders, hosted by Austin Jenkins.
  • The Impact – A weekly news show covering key decisions at the State Capitol and how they impact you; hosted by Mike McClanahan.
  • Legislative Review – During the legislative session, a daily summary of legislative highlights; hosted by Dave Martinson.
  • TVW at Large – TVW travels around the state for on-the-ground reports on hot public policy topics.
  • The Decision – Coming soon, TVW’s legal show will offer fascinating discussions on WA Supreme Court decisions.
  • Documentaries – TVW has won multiple Emmy Awards for its in-depth political documentaries.

Teach with TVW

TVW’s award-winning education resource Teach With TVW trains the next generation of Washington State citizens with hands-on programs and civic education videos. Teach With TVW programs include:

  • Capitol Classroom – TVW’s experiential civic education program lets students participate directly in the state legislative process via TVW video connection.
  • Campaign Classroom – Learn about statewide campaigns and elections with TVW’s new interactive civic education program.
  • Teach With TVW Modules – Teach With TVW Modules are video-based lessons designed to teach key aspects of Washington State civics and government.
  • Teach With TVW Docs – TVW’s Emmy-winning documentaries shows Washington citizens engaged in civic life.

TVW’s Organizational Structure and Financing

TVW is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation, not a government agency. It is governed by an independent board of directors. TVW receives more than $7 million per year in the form of in-kind contributions of channel space from Washington’s cable television industry. The majority of TVW’s operating cash – approximately $3 million per year – comes from the Legislature via a contract-for-service through the Secretary of State, and pays for gavel-to-gavel coverage. Private underwriters pay for TVW’s reporting and produced programs to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars per year.


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