Pittsburgh news start-up wins CPB aid

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CPB is backing development of Essential Public Media, the nonprofit whose purchase of Pittsburgh’s WDUQ is pending before the FCC. CPB President Patricia Harrison announced a $250,000 grant supporting start-up of EPM’s digital journalism newsroom during a July 14 luncheon at the Public Media Marketing and Development conference in Pittsburgh. “We are confident this will be a model for public media news operations across the country,” she said.

EPM began managing day-to-day operations of WDUQ on July 1, adopting an all-news format and scaling jazz music programming back to a six-hour weekend slot on 90.5 FM, its flagship channel. It’s begun exploring collaborative editorial partnerships with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PublicSource, an investigative news start-up that launched with foundation backing this spring, according to Lee Ferraro, manager of Pittsburgh’s WYEP, one of the public media nonprofits that’s a partner in EPM.

Harrison also announced CPB’s continuing commitment to the seven Local Journalism Centers launched by public stations on two-year start-up grants. LJC stations have begun discussing scenarios for operating the centers when CPB’s aid expires. “Make no mistake about it–we are committed to the LJCs over the long term,” she said. CPB recently issued a request for proposals from consultants to evaluate the progress of the LJCs.