‘Big Footprint’ journalism coming from CPB-backed collaboration

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Three public broadcasting joint licensees will share $500,000 from CPB to experiment with maximizing the impact of their enterprise journalism.

Lead station Oregon Public Broadcasting along with WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., and ideastream in Cleveland will collaborate to develop multimedia best practices and production techniques to create and disseminate reports.

Over 18 months, the stations will co-produce four major news projects, which CPB has dubbed “Big Footprint” journalism. At least one will be reported by all three outlets.

“Through a more integrated approach to service to their communities, stations have an opportunity to achieve more impact for their most important journalism,” Joyce MacDonald, v.p., journalism at CPB, said in the announcement Tuesday.

The projects will share branding and report on topics of importance to their communities. Engagement will include community partners.

OPB has hired digital media consultant Jennifer Strachan as executive producer to oversee the project.

Stations will meet early next year to figure out logistics of running the project as well as discuss reporting topics, said Morgan Holm, OPB s.v.p. and chief content officer. Last week’s election “may have shifted the ground” as far as subjects stations may consider, he said. “We didn’t have a lot of ideas in the political arena, but that could change,” he said.

For its first project, WXXI is taking a deep, data-driven dive into the state of diversity among teaching staffs in its region, said Susan Rogers, e.v.p. and g.m., who is spearheading the project. “Degrees of Diversity” premieres Dec. 5 with stories all week on radio, TV and online. Producers will also take the daily radio talk show Connections with Evan Dawson into a theater for a live audience discussion on the topic.

By participating in the CPB-funded project, “we’ll be developing techniques to do this more and do it better,” Rogers said.