South Dakota station takes ‘next step’ in state reporting with portal and app

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South Dakota Public Broadcasting launched an online portal and app Monday for viewers and listeners to follow state government proceedings and high-school athletic competitions.

SD.net and the app for iPhones, iPads and Android devices offer live webcasts, news, meeting minutes and agendas for more than 100 boards and commissions, the state Legislative Research Council and the South Dakota High School Activities Association. It will also feature live coverage of high-school games.

The station in Vermillion considers SD.net “a logical next step in our coverage of the South Dakota state legislature,” spokesperson Fritz Miller told Current. SDPB has been reporting on state politics for decades, he said. Its weekly Statehouse program is entering its 35th year on the air and the station’s website has offered live streaming audio from the legislature — committee meetings, hearings and general sessions — since 2000.

SDPB wants to provide “a robust digital repository of meetings and events happening across our state,” said Julie Overgaard, SDPB executive director, in the announcement. “SD.net is a place where South Dakotans can watch and listen to their state government at work, participate in a celebration, watch their home team win a state championship or attend a great speech without ever leaving home. Users will also have easy access to other resources and archival content.”

Funding for the app and the website came primarily from general funds, Miller said, as well as SDN Communications, a business broadband provider, and the South Dakota Bar Foundation.

Work on SD.net began in July 2015 as the station partnered with agencies to set up equipment in dozens of meeting rooms at the capitol in Pierre. Streaming of meetings launched last summer as staff trained on the equipment. The app unofficially went live in December with Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s annual budget address, Miller said.

The state legislature meets for about 38 days from January through mid-March, but the station’s coverage lasts year-round, he said.