Barriers to newsroom collaborations lower than pubcasters think

“Neither journalism nor public life will move forward until the public actually rethinks and reinterprets what journalism is: not the science or information of culture, but its poetry and conversation.” — James Carey, “The Mass Media and Democracy,” Journal of International Affairs, June 22, 1993

Since 2009, CPB has provided approximately $23.2 million to establish more than 40 journalism partnerships at public broadcasting stations. These included Project Argo, a collection of topically focused local blogs produced by NPR and 12 public radio stations; and the Association of Independents in Radio’s Localore, a cross-platform radio and television content partnership that paired indie producers with 10 stations. CPB’s investments in nine Local Journalism Centers have been the most ambitious of these initiatives. These collaborations involved 56 public stations of various licensee types and enabled multimedia production across public radio, television and digital platforms.
Many of these collaborative projects operated independently of host stations’ newsrooms, and they departed from the normal broadcast-centered practices and routines to create additional content about specific topics. Public radio distributors and outside journalism organizations have also laid the roadbed for collaborative journalism through projects such as NPR’s State Impact initiative, Public Radio International’s state-accountability series and Public Radio Exchange’s new investigative program, Reveal. Continue Reading

Editor says merger in St. Louis has boosted web traffic, strengthened reporting

The organization resulting from the merger of the St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio is already realizing benefits from the union, six months after it took effect. That's according to the editor of the combined news organization, who gave a progress report on the collaboration June 20 at the annual Public Radio News Directors Inc. conference in Arlington, Va. “It’s not easy, day-to-day, but it’s paid off,” said Margaret Freivogel, who also founded the Beacon. Continue Reading

Five New York pubcasters team up for CPB-backed regional newsroom

Five public media stations in New York will create a regional newsroom with a $375,000 grant from CPB, announced today. The two-year backing will support Upstate Insight, which CPB called "an innovative model for covering news across a large geographic area." Principal partners are WXXI, Rochester; WSKG, Binghamton; WRVO, Oswego; and WMHT, Troy. WBFO in Buffalo is an associate partner. In the announcement, CPB said the stations "will develop news data capability and adopt content sharing and communications systems to support connectivity between organizations." Continue Reading

Investigative journalist Jim Trotter and his I-News colleagues set up their newsroom in RMPBS headquarters four years ago. Now the two media outlets are merging with KUVO, Denver's pubradio jazz station. (Photo: Joe Mahoney/The I-News Network)

New alliance in Mile High City

The latest merger agreement from Denver combines three different breeds of public media — flagship pubTV station Rocky Mountain PBS, community-licensed jazz broadcaster KUVO-FM and investigative digital news outlet I-News Network — in a consolidation that aims to build strength through diversity. Continue Reading

Sweetening the deal for partnering stations

NEW ORLEANS — CPB is considering a proposal to allocate $3 million annually over six years to support collaboration among public radio stations, with the amount to be drawn from Community Service Grant incentive funds. The money would support upwards of 20 collaborations among 80 or so stations, each of which would receive an additional $70,000 to $90,000 annually. That financial boost would help stations develop content, streamline operations, plan technology and infrastructure, and undertake other collaborative activities. The program would start in fiscal year 2015 at the earliest. By encouraging collaboration, CPB hopes to “unleash the potential of the network effect,” said Bruce Theriault, senior v.p. of radio, at the Public Radio Regional Organizations Super-Regional Meeting in New Orleans Nov. Continue Reading