Chances are you don’t know Helen Soul�. She’s flown under the radar in the month since she was named Cable in the Classroom’s exec dir. That should change this week when CIC hosts its inaugural "Cable Leaders in Learning Awards." While the groundwork for the awards was done before Soul� arrived, she’s had to move fast since coming over from the Dept of Ed. "The gala showcases the good things that cable and education do and that can be done," she says. "There’s been a lot of enthusiasm from people in the industry and from members of Congress." Among the DC heavyweights slated to attend are House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and all the FCC commissioners, sans chmn Kevin Martin. Tomorrow’s event will honor 12 leaders in education, ranging from teachers to politicians to community leaders. A swanky ceremony in DC will include CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and A&E’s Bill Kurtis. 5 of the winners will be recognized for using cable tech/programming. All will spend 3 days in DC, networking and meeting with lawmakers. Once the gala’s over, Soul� can start worrying about CIC’s strategic plan. She’ll spend about 90 days soliciting industry and educator input. "I just think it’s smart not to come in and say we have to do and ‘x’ and ‘y’" without evaluating things. Soul� also will be promoting cable’s parental controls and media literacy initiative. CIC’s 100 media literacy workshops start rolling out next month and continue through May ’06. Much of her 1st week on the job was spent with boss/NCTA chief Kyle McSlarrow, talking about everything from indecency to CIC’s objectives. "I guess you would say I was the 1st person he hired," Soul� says. She will report to him, not NCTA’s public affairs div, as some speculated. — With Soul�’s introduction to cable at National, we had to ask: who parties hardier-cable execs or teachers? Definitely cable, she says. "The teachers are grading papers."

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Sports giant ESPN says it’s sitting out sending staff to China for the Winter Olympics due to COVID-19 concerns. ESPN had planned to send four reporters to China, but those reporters will now join a larger

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