CNN Heroes: Focusing the Spotlight on Personal Responsibility and Traditional Values

CNN has developed an ongoing feature to honor people who are making a positive difference in their communities and the world around them.  The feature, CNN Heroes, is driven by nominations submitted to by the general public.

Features like these highlight a key strength of television news and the Internet.  By promoting such stories and the people behind them CNN has set an inspirational tone that may inspire others to similar acts of everyday heroism. 

So far, the featured heroes' stories have focused on individuals who embody values like personal responsibility, generosity, entrepreneurship, and care for their fellow man. Some of the heroes featured by CNN include:

    Dr. Randy Christensen, who travels the streets of Phoenix and Tempe, AZ and offers free medical care to homeless children with no health insurance.  He treats more than 2,000 kids each year. Mike and Jessica Flannery, who started a business called, which enables people in developed countries to directly loan money to entrepreneurs in developing countries, thus making a direct global impact. So far they have brokered $6.5 million in collateral-free loans to 9,000 businesses. James Burgett, a former drug addict, rebuilds computers from e-trash (discarded or broken computers) which he recycles.  The rebuilt computers are donated to community organizations, schools and individuals who would not otherwise be able to afford a computer.  Burgett hires people often considered un-hirable, like ex-convicts and drug addicts.  He says giving his employees a sense of self worth is one of the side benefits of his business.

According to the CNN Web site, nominations for heroes will be continually taken ( throughout the year and the most outstanding entries will be recognized in a broadcast hosted in December by CNN's Anderson Cooper. CNN is also archiving the stories on the CNN Web site, creating a “repository of good news” which is increasingly hard to find.

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the MediaResearchCenter.