KERA in Dallas and nonprofit news outlet Fort Worth Report announced a journalism collaboration Thursday that allows their newsrooms to share reporting and coordinate coverage.
Under the agreement, nearly a year in the making, the two organizations in North Central Texas will share coverage online and through on-air platforms. The partners also plan to co-host future events.
When CEO Nico Leone started at the station two years ago, “it was pretty obvious that KERA wasn’t doing enough in Fort Worth from a news perspective,” he said.
After the Fort Worth Report began publishing news coverage in early 2021, KERA leaders “decided rather than trying to grow our presence on our own, it was a great opportunity to collaborate, to support their growth, and to try to find ways to work together towards a shared goal of more good local reporters on the ground in a community that had really seen a pretty profound loss of local journalism,” Leone said.
In its first year the Fort Worth Report has built up a team of about 18 staff. The digital news outlet covers city and county government, schools, healthcare, business, and arts and culture in Tarrant County.
”Our collaboration with KERA helps the Fort Worth Report share the story of the nation’s second-fastest-growing city with all of North Texas, the rest of the state and nation,” Chris Cobler, CEO and publisher, said in a press release. “Public media also serves as a good model for the financial sustainability our nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization is working to achieve.”
With the partnership, KERA sees an opportunity “to start bringing some of the content that they’re creating into our other channels and hearing more voices, getting more stories from Fort Worth while at the same time supporting their growth,” Leone said.
KERA is providing audio training in spot news so the Report staff will be able to file stories for KERA newscasts, Leone said.
To facilitate content sharing, KERA hired Juan Antonio Ramos as collaborations editor who will work as a liaison between the two newsrooms. KERA also provided funding for a journalist for the Report to focus on government accountability.
One goal of the partnership is to reduce reporting redundancies in order to “widen North Texans’ access to local news,” according to the release.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for us to think about how we grow together, how we reach new audiences, how we reach more diverse audiences, how we connect to people who might not have a good, trusted local news service and frankly, how to fundraise together,” Leone said. As a public media organization, more good local journalism is a goal “we should be pursuing … whether it’s by growing our staff, by collaborating with others, or preferably both.”
The editorial partnership is part of the station’s “broader strategy of collaborating with all different types of organizations,” Leone said. The station recently announced a pending deal to take over management of a classical music station owned by the Dallas city government.
Editor’s note: This article has been revised to correct Cobler’s statement describing Fort Worth as the nation’s fastest growing city. Fort Worth is the second-fastest growing city.