TPT NOW is a partnership between public health and public safety agencies working collaboratively to provide public health and safety information in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali languages. TPT NOW also broadcasts round-the-clock weather forecasts with weather alerts so more Minnesotan are healthy, safe, and ready for emergencies.
When crises hit, communities that consistently experience inequity are more vulnerable and less likely to have access to critical information, resources and support.
Launched in 2017 by Twin Cities PBS (TPT), TPT NOW is a multi-lingual, 24/7, emergency preparedness and response communication system designed to help fill critical communications gaps between public health/safety leaders and cultural communities.
These gaps, and the barriers that exacerbate them, include:
TPT NOW was founded in the belief that community resiliency is built on equity. Accordingly, its work is grounded in deep relationships with cultural communities.
Since its launch, TPT NOW has repeatedly tested and proven its capacity to produce and disseminate real-time, multi-platform, emergency preparedness and response communications in up to eight languages.
Using a “Hub and Spoke” distribution system, TPT NOW centralizes content development with government partners to prepare messaging in multiple languages before distributing the content through its cultural and community media partners.
Doing so allows TPT NOW to distribute culturally relevant, language-appropriate, targeted communications across the Twin Cities and the state.
In January 2021, TPT NOW was presented an award from National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) for for exceptional COVID-19 content and engagement with health and safety partners and cultural communities across the state.
In September 2022, TPT NOW was presented another award from NETA, recognizing TPT NOW as a National leader in community engagement using multilingual videos and graphics to raise awareness about hate crimes with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Lillian McDonald is the Managing Director for Twin Cities PBS’s Emergency Response Services (ERS). ERS evolved out of collaborative work between TPT and Public Safety Partners to prepare warning and alerts in multiple languages including Spanish, Hmong, Somali and English.
Prior to TPT, Lillian was the founding executive director of ECHO Minnesota (Emergency, Community, Health and Outreach), a non-profit specializing in multi-lingual and multi-platform programming and distribution. Before her community service work, McDonald was a broadcast journalist for radio and television stations in the Midwest including KARE-11 and FOX-9 news locally. As a public information officer for FEMA, she’s served as Public Information Officer (PIO) during Hurricane Katrina emergency response.
Sydney Gisvold is TPT NOW’s Social Media & Content Coordinator, and is responsible for creating and coordinating TPT NOW’s social media content as well as creating content for TPT NOW’s live broadcast on channel 2.5.
Prior to TPT, she spent several years working with diverse communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, and Norway through organizations such as the Concordia Language Villages. She is passionate about helping cultural communities achieve their needs through media and collaboration.
Kate Westlund Tovsen is a writer, project manager, and producer who is passionate about work revolving around the arts, health care, and the environment. She lives just north of the Twin Cities with her husband, daughter, dog, two cats and two chickens. You can frequently find her exploring the woods and wetlands around her home.
Leo Espinoza is a News Director and entertainment television anchor. He is the host of The Latin Experience, the first bilingual television show produced in MN, former Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission City of Bloomington, and also board member of several professional organizations. Mr. Espinoza sincerely believes communication is the most powerful tool to build leadership across the world.
He has worked as a Community/Advocate Investigator at the Legal Rights Center since 2010. Prior to that he was employed at both Tubman and at the Hennepin County Department of Human Services, assisting Spanish speaking community members.
Leo has extensive experience as a public media host, most notably in the area of public health outreach (ECHO) through Twin Cities Public Television. He has also served on the Hennepin County Sheriff’s community advisory board.
Pa Lee has been interpreting for families and friends for free before doing it professionally. Since 2012, she has been on the MN Court Roster. She has experience in simultaneous and consecutive court interpreting, as well as other legal, social services, medical, and public awareness interpreting. Pa has been interpreting live for Governor Walz since the onset of the pandemic and for the Minneapolis School Board meetings. More recently, she translated and recorded PSAs for the FBI.
Pa is passionate about helping non-English-speaking Hmong people to be on the same playing field as those who understand English. Prior to being an interpreter, Pa was an auditor for the MN Department of Revenue in withholding taxes. Pa has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a Minor in Economics from St. Kates. She received her MBA with a concentration in Conflict Management from Hamline in 2011.
Hibo Guled is a culturist, interpreter, philanthropist, and a lover of all things blue that is committed to being your bridge to everything Somali.
Send us an email with feedback, questions, and concerns about TPT NOW at [email protected]
To report problems with Closed Captioning during television broadcasts, call us at 651 229-1330 or Toll Free at (866) 229-1300, fax 651-229-1506, use our feedback form or email us directly at [email protected].
For written closed captioning complaints:
Twin Cities Public Television
172 E. Fourth Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
TPT’s Closed Captioning Quality Certification
Funding provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce – Telecommunications Access of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division.