ABC News keeps 'Spirit' up

Segments that look on the bright side will air weekly

NEW YORK -- ABC News is trying to look on the bright side in these troubled times, launching a series called "Spirit of America" that will air weekly during "World News With Charles Gibson."

The two- or three-minute segments began Monday; there will be two more on this week's newscasts.

"World News" executive producer Jonathan Banner said the newscast has a similar feature in "Person of the Week," which airs every Friday. But producers felt that spotlighting positive news could go even further.

"Even with the economic crisis and the problems that affect so many people, we're trying to show that people can make a difference, both big and small," Banner said.

Monday's segment featured Erin Hayes' report from Olathe, Kan., on a program where fathers take a day off and spend it at their child's school. The program, "WatchDOG Dads," has grown to 30 states and 800 schools in 10 years.

Hayes also will profile a Texas church's adoption program, and Bob Woodruff will focus on a recycling program in Everett, Mass.

"This is really about some tremendous ideas, both big and small, that have impact on people and their lives," Banner said.

The segments will continue once a week for the foreseeable future, he said.
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