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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We hosted the PBS39 Good Neighbor Awards in the spirit of Fred Rogers’ legacy of education, community and compassion. We staged an all-star live broadcast and launched the Good Neighbor Fund.
The Stand holds an annual Photo Walk to explore the neighborhood and capture a typical day in photos. With COVID, an innovative approach was taken to add a photo contest and still document our city.
Aspen Public Radio’s Fall 2020 Membership Drive was a success because of our “van life” giveaway. It creatively engaged listeners and highlighted a local business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A multi-media success story of artists, musicians, and a beloved public radio station that combined messages online, in video, and in local media to attract new listeners, donors and raise $70,000.
Every weekday morning, Interlochen Public Radio (IPR) presents Kids Commute, an interactive exploration of classical music centered around weekly themes (such as mermaids, opera and elephants) that are designed to educate and entertain the youngest listeners. Kids Commute also explores ballets, their stories, and the music that goes along with them. This interactive radio experience delivers strategies for early childhood artistic development that can be easily replicated in a variety of genres.
This unique project offered the region’s storytellers the platform needed to disseminate their films to a new audience through broadcast distribution of their finished films. The initiative served filmmakers from the Keys to the Treasure Coast with an audience reach of over 6.3 million, deepening the understanding of ourselves and our neighbors.
The Million Minute Challenge was an initiative to get people of all ages and backgrounds in Lehigh Valley reading. We asked our community to come together to read 1,000,000 minutes in March 2020, Reading Awareness Month, and what resulted was a fun, engaging, exciting, audience-captivating event that surpassed its goals and put reading at the center.
Instead of focusing on ourselves for Giving Tuesday, we chose to celebrate other local nonprofits. People nominated their favorite local nonprofits and then we awarded $1000 in underwriting to randomly selected winners.
KPBS launched the “Explore” program in 2012 as an experiment to grow the station’s library of local programs while cultivating new, young and diverse talent. Every two years, KPBS opens a community-wide call for content ideas and offers seed funding to create local TV shows, web series and podcasts. The producers retain ownership of their project and are responsible for raising the extra funds needed to stay afloat. The program has spawned four podcasts and more than a dozen TV and web series.
Good Neighbor Awards
The COVID-19 pandemic created several challenges this past year especially for non-profit organizations who often rely on traditional annual in-person fundraisers to advance their mission in the community. Often those in-person events take the opportunity to recognize and honor local philanthropists and corporations who historically support their organization. Most organizations simply turned their traditional events into virtual events, but we knew we had to try something different.
We decided to turn our attention to the “good neighbors” who immediately responded to the critical needs of our community amidst a year of crisis and unrest. Driven by the theme “Good Neighbors Live Here,” we honored our region’s two largest healthcare providers – Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Lukes University Health Network, along with Second Harvest Food Bank. These non-profit organizations saved thousands of lives in our community.
We produced special video segments featuring our honorees along with other local heroes and they served as the centerpiece of a production which aired on PBS39 on May 25th while also being livestreamed on PBS39.org and on Facebook live. We announced on the broadcast the establishment of the Good Neighbor Fund to address the critical needs of our community by delivering educational programs and resources to children, parents and educators. The produced event included salutes from PBS national talent including Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the host of Finding Your Roots, Joan Lunden, host of Second Opinion, and Jim Cotter, host of Articulate. We leveraged social media, connecting with the followers of our honorees and we generated significant buzz and visibility building up to the broadcast with testimonials from community leaders and board members. We presented each of the honorees with framed “Red Sweaters” (the same cardigan version that Fred Rogers famously wore each episode) recognizing their contributions.
We were able to turn what otherwise would have been just another virtual event and turned it into a community-wide celebration. The success of the event was a testament to our theme “Good Neighbors Live Here.”
Proceeds raised from the event and the Good Neighbor Fund directly support educational initiatives in the community. Specifically, over 185,000 students, families and educators were the beneficiaries of PBS39's educational outreach programs which stemmed across 24 school districts in our region. That outreach included the construction and distribution of over 5,000 "Smart Sacks" filled with STEAM educational activities for children and their families; the development and launch of online resources and professional development opportunities for our teachers; and the expansion of literacy initiatives like Raising Readers and Lehigh Valley Reads that seek to help students achieve grade-level reading standards.
We were able to raise $65,000 to support the event and to establish the Good Neighbor Fund. The event's title sponsor Highmark Blue Shield provided a matching gift which spurred on additional contributions. The fund was established primarily through the support of 10 corporate sponsors and 25 individual donors.