NPR News vets to reshape E.W. Scripps news strategy

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SeabrookDecodeDC, the political podcast and public radio show created by former NPR correspondent Andrea Seabrook, has been acquired by the E.W. Scripps commercial newswire service.

Scripps bought the independently produced podcast as part of a strategic restructuring and expansion of its Washington-based coverage under Ellen Weiss, former NPR News chief. Weiss joined Scripps in February as its Washington bureau chief and developed plans to focus the bureau on enterprise and investigative reporting for Scripps-owned TV, digital and print properties.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Seabrook will join the Scripps bureau staff, which is beefing up its multimedia production capacity and folding its newspaper wire service, according to a Nov. 11 release announcing the purchase. DecodeDC content will be featured as part of Scripps’ Washington coverage distributed to 26 television and newspaper markets.

“Our strategy to expand as a content-focused organization, with a full commitment to investigative reporting and national politics, led us to this decision to cease being a packager and distributor of content from other news organizations,” Weiss said. “Our best opportunity for the future is to focus on enterprise journalism.”

Seabrook could not be reached for comment, but wrote in a blog post that she is “thrilled” by the new arrangement. “It has always been my goal to cover Washington in a fresh new way, leaving behind the tired old cliches of political news.  Scripps believes in that vision too, and has invested in expanding DecodeDC,” she wrote. “I couldn’t be happier to find such an enthusiastic partner in Scripps, with its stellar legacy of truth-telling.”

Seabrook launched DecodeDC in fall 2012 after raising  more than $100,000 in Kickstarter contributions. To date she has produced 23 episodes of the program,  and distributed it independently through the online Mule Radio Syndicate podcast network and for public radio broadcast through PRX.

In June, the White House honored Seabrook as a “Crowdfunding Champion of Change” for her success as an entrepreneur.

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