Newest journalism hub will expand coverage in Gulf States

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Four public broadcasters in the Gulf States region will form a collaborative newsroom, the third across the country to be supported by NPR and CPB.

The collaboration will involve Mississippi Public Broadcasting; WWNO in New Orleans; WRKF in Baton Rouge, La.; and WBHM in Birmingham, Ala. A full-time managing editor will be based at WBHM. Stations will also add six beat reporters and two editors to contribute to the regional coverage.

CPB will contribute $1.2 million over 44 months to support the hub, according to a release Thursday. The collaboration will enable the stations to coordinate and expand reporting and boost contributions to national shows.

“Our region, sadly, has been dubbed a ‘news desert,’” said Chuck Holmes, GM of WBHM, in the release. “The Gulf States need more journalism and this collaborative effort gives us much-needed resources and the means to coordinate and leverage our coverage. WBHM is proud to play the lead role with our partners to extend and expand our newsrooms and enhance our ability to produce impactful news reporting and storytelling.”

“Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama rank at or near the bottom among states on many measures of health, education, environmental quality, and social justice,” said Paul Maassen, GM of WWNO and WRKF. “The Gulf States Regional Newsroom aims to help local public radio stations to fill the gap left by legacy media and build a better-informed populace on issues that matter across the region.”

The creation of the Gulf States hub follows the launch of similar collaborations in Texas and California. Four Texas stations are producing live statewide newscasts and contributing to a daily newsmagazine, Texas Standard. The California collaboration announced this month the hire of a managing editor to oversee coverage.

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