Ed Palmer
Who is Dr. Ed Palmer?

Dr. Edward L. Palmer (1933–1999) was a media consultant who fused education with entertainment, and helped in the early development of Sesame Street. He was chairman of the Coalition for Quality Children's Media / KIDS FIRST! national board from 1995 to 1998.

Mr. Palmer was among the first people hired in 1968 by Children's Television Workshop, the parent company of Sesame Street. The workshop was impressed by his research at the University of Michigan into the responses of preschool children to television. Mr. Palmer's findings indicated that children took delight in watching other children and animals, that they liked music and slapstick, wanted characters to be kind to one another and were bored by talking adults.

These insights contributed to the development of characters like Big Bird and Grover when Sesame Street made its debut in 1969. ''He was, to a great degree, the one who figured out how to build educational content into television for young children in a way that's beneficial and entertaining,'' said Shalom Fisch, vice president for program research at the workshop.
Mr. Palmer served as Children's Television Workshop's vice president for research for 16 years and was senior research fellow for three years afterward. He helped develop several adult programs and three other well-known children's shows, including Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact and Ghostwriter.

After leaving the workshop in 1987, Mr. Palmer formed World Media Partners, a company that helped develop educational and health-care televisions program for use in developing countries. His clients included UNICEF, the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Palmer participated as a producer of Al Manaahil (The Sources), a TV series created by CTW in Jordan to teach reading of Arabic to Arab children and adults, and was a consultant to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs on the creation of The Equatorial Trilogy, three 75-minute made-for-TV feature films produced in Indonesia on the subject of health and the environment.

Edward Leon Palmer was born in John Day, Ore., on Jan. 20, 1933. He earned a bachelor's degree in English at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, and a doctorate in educational measurement and research design at Michigan State University in East Lansing in 1964. Later, he taught communications and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and Florida State University.

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