PBS39 in Bethlehem, Pa., announced Thursday that it will hire 10 journalists to create a “Reporter Corps” throughout 10 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The project marks the “largest non-capital investment that PBS39 has ever made,” according to the announcement. Because the investment is primarily salaries and benefits, “we are not comfortable disclosing the actual amounts,” spokesperson Jim MacDonald told Current.
PBS39 is initially funding the corps with earnings from its spectrum auction proceeds through the PBS39 Foundation, a separate 501(c)(3), MacDonald said. The station received $82 million in the FCC auction as part of a channel-sharing agreement.
The news team, which will also include four PBS39 reporters already on staff, will initially produce digital content for the PBS39 website. An on-air nightly newscast will premiere in September. The station has begun recruiting journalists and hopes to be fully staffed by early to mid-summer, MacDonald said.
“PBS39 is uniquely suited to handle this type of journalism, as we do not have the constraints of commercial news,” said CEO Tim Fallon in the announcement. “We have an opportunity to undertake a different kind of journalism, where we are looking beyond the story of the day with a mission to give citizens a deeper understanding of their community.”
“This newscast is not intended to cover crime, weather and traffic,” said Yoni Greenbaum, chief content officer. “It is about the revival of community journalism, which has been eroding steadily over the last decade. We’re telling the stories that nobody else is telling.”
The team will be supervised by Managing Editor Jim Deegan and Executive Producer Monica Evans, who will also host the news program.