American Public Media is cutting production of American RadioWorks, the investigative documentary series that won a duPont-Columbia Silver Baton in January. MinnPost’s David Brauer reports that Executive Editor and host Stephen Smith and some members of his team will remain at APM to produce coverage of higher education and sustainability, which are priority editorial topics for APM. “Some of this work will appear as ARW docs, some will be shorter in nature and appear in regular programs such as Marketplace or as specials,” writes Judy McAlpine, senior v.p. of national content, in a memo to staff. “Along with the documentary work, we will continue to build out smaller features and online content as part of these projects. As a result of this realignment, ARW will no longer be a stand-alone editorial team. Work will now be integrated into these two editorial projects. This will mean a change in some positions and reduction of others but we are doing everything we can to find other opportunities within our company for affected staff.” McAlpine tells Brauer that APM is trying to reassign journalists such as Catherine Winter, a “familiar voice to MPR listeners” who edited ARW‘s duPont-winning documentary. “We want to keep the talented people we have,” she says.
Clarification and update: The headline on this post has been revised because APM is not disbanding the ARW team. Spokeswoman Jackie Cartier says ARW will continue to produce stand-alone long-form docs for national distribution; topics have been narrowed to education and sustainability issues related to global climate change. Producers aim to deliver three full-length docs per year on education, with significant online coverage and shorter features to be presented within daily programs; plans for sustainability coverage are in the works. In addition, the coming fall season will include reporting on civil rights.