Tuesday roundup: 40 years of Prairie Home, Tamara Keith’s NPR letters

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A Prairie Home Companion drew crowds all weekend in St. Paul for its 40th anniversary festivities. (Photo: Ben Miller/APM)

A Prairie Home Companion drew weekend crowds in St. Paul for its 40th anniversary festivities. (Photo: Ben Miller/APM)

• American Public Media’s A Prairie Home Companion celebrated its 40th year on the air with three days of festivities in Minnesota. A free festival at St. Paul’s Macalaster College put on musical performances all weekend sandwiched around the taping of the live show, with Garrison Keillor presiding over many events. More than 30 communities across the state became “Lake Wobegon” for the weekend, with participants snapping photos showing hometown spirit.

• NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith guest-hosted Weekend Edition Saturday last weekend, and to commemorate the moment she shared details about her early life as an NPR fan. As a teenager, Keith wrote letters to Scott Simon, Cokie Roberts and other NPR reporters asking for advice about getting into the industry. The generous replies included an offer from Liane Hansen to write essays for Weekend Edition Saturday. “That little letter-writing campaign — and the people who responded — changed my life. And I don’t mean that in some abstract way,” Keith said.

• NextCity explores how small hyperlocal newsrooms may fill reporting gaps left by major dailies, even as editors and publishers constantly struggle to make ends meet. Nonprofit news sites including The Lens in New Orleans and the recently shuttered AxisPhilly are among the outlets profiled.

Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep visited Charlie Rose last week to discuss ME‘s audience reach and his recent reporting series on immigration.

• Over the past two weeks, a crew of eight workers has been refurbishing a statue of Mister Rogers in the TV show host’s native Pittsburgh, reports the Beaver County (Pa.) Times. They’re buffing the 7,000-pound, nearly 11-foot sculpture of  the public television icon cast in architectural bronze.