Local that Works


Local that Works spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations and nonprofit and digital news organizations in the U.S. LTW includes an annual contest and a database (below). LTW produces webinars that offer insights into projects and organizations that are reshaping local civic journalism.

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News, Brews & Beatz: What Champaign-Urbana is Doing to Combat Gun Violence

Illinois Public Media at The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
2022
Joint Licensee
Jill Clements - Creator, News, Brews & Beatz
jillclem@illinois.edu
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_bgGzHnKsY

2021 was the deadliest year in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Record levels of gun violence ended 27 lives including a police officer, and sent shockwaves throughout the community of 129,000, home of the flagship – University of Illinois.

Illinois Public Media took the lead in addressing this crisis by launching an innovative, and interactive quarterly series entitled: NEWS, BREWS & BEATZ. A space for diverse voices to engage in breakthrough conversations regarding what Champaign-Urbana is doing to combat gun violence.

Assistant Corporate Support Director Jill Clements and News Director Reginald Hardwick partnered with the City of Champaign Community Coalition (an umbrella agency of social services and non-profit organizations), who assisted with assembling a panel of phenomenal African American professionals to address different aspects that relate to what Champaign-Urbana is doing to help reduce gun violence including:
Series #1: Mental health and trauma services available to individuals and families
Series #2: Successful non-traditional programs for youth and teens including; (The HipHop Express-Double Dutch Recording Bus, and Midnight Basketball League)
Series #3: Safe spaces and support needed for elementary, middle School and high school students
Series #4: Navigating the daily challenges of peer pressure and social media, along with addressing the lack of access and opportunities for African American males in our community

This provocative series and conversations take place in the heart of downtown Champaign at Pour Bros. Craft Taproom. Hosted by News Director Reginald Hardwick and Tracy Parsons, Facilitator of the Champaign County Community Coalition, and also featuring a socially conscious entertainment line-up including; a spoken word artist, DJ, and speed painter.

The live audience can text their questions directly to Reginald Hardwick, while the online audience can “chat” their questions, which are monitored by IPM staff, and forwarded to Hardwick as well.

These standing room only events, averaging over 100-125 guests (per series), feature hard-hitting, riveting conversations intended to educate, inspire and activate a community into action. Not only does NEWS, BREWS & BEATZ attract the hard to reach, but highly sought after African American audience, it also continues to assemble its core NPR listening audience too – all together under one roof. Exactly what public media is designed to do!!

Illinois Public Media in conjunction with the City of Champaign County Community Coalition is proud to be a catalyst for creating these open community dialog events. Over 500 people attended the four part series, with over 1500 viewing it on FaceBook LIVE and YouTube.
As a result, area community organizations including The Don Moyers Boys & Girls Club, and First String Youth Sports have both seen increases with community volunteers, along with financial and material donations.

However, the biggest impact since the launch of this 2021 series is that gun violence and shootings in our communities are down 50% from this time last year (according to both Champaign and Urbana Police Department data).
We would like to think that our efforts helped to play a small role in this powerful achievement.

IPM looks forward to the continuing this groundbreaking series and growing its audience by airing this one-hour event on the WILL-TV platform this fall.

NB&B underwriting packages generated over $5,000 in station revenue, and include :15 radio mentions options, along with additional on-air acknowledgement on the :30 radio promotional support promos.
Many existing underwriters upgraded just to support this important mission, while local African American businesses were targeted, pitched and secured as well.