Black Gold Boom, a Localore project examining how increased oil drilling has affected sparsely populated regions of North Dakota, received a grant today from the Independent Television Service, the Association for Independents in Radio and Prairie Public Broadcasting to produce a television documentary and transmedia project in 2014.
Producer Todd Melby told Current that the $98,000 grant will fund a 30-minute film focusing mainly on the oil boom's effects on the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The transmedia project, Oil Patch: Code Blue, will adapt to the web portions of a radio series about injuries and deaths in the oil fields that aired on Prairie Public Broadcasting. The online format will provide users with an opportunity to read related court documents, Melby said.
Melby's work chronicling the "modern-day gold rush" to the state's oil fields won him two prestigious national journalism awards in 2013, for specialized journalism website from the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi and feature honors from the Online News Association. Melby continues to report on the issue for the national pubradio program Marketplace.
AIR announced in January a partnership with ITVS on second-year funding for projects in the Localore initiative, which pairs independent producers with pubcasting stations.