CPB unveils multimillion initiative backing economic coverage and collaborations

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CPB announced details of its Public Service Media Economic Response Initiative, a package of grants investing in programming and station-based projects that deal with the economic crisis. Grants to be awarded could total as much as $7.8 million, according to a CPB news release. Programs and projects comprising the initiative include a $2.5 million digital collaboration among major national producers to produce comprehensive news coverage and distribute it on multiple platforms with links among the offerings and customization tools for stations. In addition, CPB will provide $2.3 million to NPR, Marketplace, The World, Capitol News Connection, Frontline and WNET’s Worldfocus to enhance their economic coverage. Producers of Sesame Street will receive an unspecified amount of aid for a multimedia project for families dealing with economic hardship.

Facing the Mortgage Crisis is the largest grant program for stations. It provides $1.59 million for radio and television stations in 32 markets with the highest foreclosure rates. CPB will also provide up to $1 million in “economy response” matching grants to radio and TV stations working with community partners to create content and outreach projects. Another $200,000 will be awarded for stations that convene dialogues with civic leaders and citizens around local or regional economic issues. In addition, CPB’s Public Media Innovation Fund is focusing its next two grant rounds on projects creating new media education tools, applications and content on financial literacy. In its fourth round, which is now open, the fund will award a total of $200,000 in CPB aid.