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 (deadline: August 23) and a database (below). LTW produces webinars that offer insights into projects and organizations that are reshaping local civic journalism.
Explore the database of 400+ Local that Works projects. Check out Local that Works contest Winners, Finalists and Semifinalists by clicking on those colored tags.
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CareerExplore Northwest is an educational initiative created by KSPS PBS as a workforce development solution for our viewing region. Far beyond a typical job search website, it helps students and adults discover viable career paths by providing behind-the-scenes videos and easily accessible answers to questions about in-demand jobs in the Spokane region and what it takes to get them.
Uncuffed is a podcast and radio series made by people incarcerated in California prisons. KALW producers teach them how to record and edit powerful audio stories about life on the inside. Uncuffed seeks to create emotional, human stories to shift the narrative around incarcerated people and change the criminal justice system.
Kansas City PBS creates “Zoom juries” as a novel approach to engaging citizens on critical pandemic related issues. In ‘Justice Deferred’ we partnered with area courts to examine what it will take to restart criminal jury trials suspended since stay-at-home orders went into effect in March.
Prior to the pandemic, WFYI had set up a Be My Neighbor Day event at the city library with several community partners, a sensory-friendly area and an expected 1,200 guests. COVID-19 forced us to cancel the live event, so we pivoted to a mix of educational outreach and volunteer engagement for a Be My Neighbor Week.
In partnership with Fresno Unified School District, the 3rd largest in the state of California and a district with 90% economically disadvantaged and diverse students living below the poverty line without equal access to online learning, Valley PBS created an on-air program from 8am to 9am each day that targets Literacy Lessons for K-3rd students and is taught by FUSD teachers. Students have been able to learn and review fundamentals over-the-air, streaming on Facebook Live daily and on the website since June and lessons are translated into Spanish and Hmong.
The Voice of San Diego “Local Boost” initiative spurs the local economy and helps to ensure the sustainability of our nonprofit newsroom. The program leverages philanthropy to incentivize sponsorship and marketing packages for local small businesses and nonprofits, diversifying our revenue sources and demonstrating our values and commitment to our local community.
At-Home Learning was a rapid response learning service for school closures in our local broadcast region. We created an on-air and digital service that was then shared with PBS stations across the country.
“Get Lit with All Of It” is a virtual book club in partnership with the New York Public Library (NYPL) that has become a source of culture, connection and community for New Yorkers even as we remain apart. Participants access each month’s book for free using the NYPL app (with thousands of extra e-copies made available for a free 3-week download) and each month, Alison Stewart hosts a livestream book club event with the featured author, special musical guests and experts who put the themes of the books in a cultural context. “Get Lit” has helped “All of It” reach a larger audience than ever before, and of the top 10 checkouts from the NYPL from March-August 2020, three are are “Get Lit” books.
Block Club Chicago hosted a free resource fair on the West Side, bringing together 21 community organizations to offer free food, toiletries and health screenings to residents. Our neighborhood reporter was also on hand to take story tips and meet people.
CareerExplore Northwest began in response to feedback from the Spokane area business community expressing a desire for a strong workforce for our region. Employers wanted to hire locally but lamented the lack of qualified or interested applicants. At the same time, local school districts were beginning to expand their goals beyond preparing students for four-year college degrees, recognizing the many options for living-wage jobs that required other types of training.
Starting in 2018, we developed an advisory council made up of the Spokane Workforce Council, industry leaders, Spokane’s chamber of commerce (GSI), several area school districts, regional universities, and our community colleges to help find a solution. The result is CareerExplore Northwest, a multimedia tool and community resource for students and adults that provides practical, up-to-date information about a variety of jobs in our region.
We began by working with businesses to produce 90-second job spotlights. We interviewed employees who were passionate about their work in order to inspire young people to seek out more information. Businesses and grantors cover our production costs and also receive an underwriting schedule on KSPS PBS.
We built a website, CareerExploreNW.org, to feature the job spotlights provide up-to-date data from the Spokane Workforce Council. CareerExplore Northwest has become a bridge between educators and industry. MacKay Manufacturing, our first sponsor, reported that 40 percent of their website traffic was driven by CareerExploreNW.org.
We regularly consult with Career and Technical Education specialists at area school districts to ensure the website meets their educational needs and to help them promote its use in schools. Our advisory council meets regularly to discuss project growth and assess how well the site is meeting local needs.
As we continue the project, at the request of both educators and businesses, we are creating 360-degree interactive Virtual Field Trips, where students can click-and-drag for an up-close look behind the scenes at regional companies.
CareerExplore Northwest has an impact that extends beyond its use in schools. While the primary demographic of the site is people under the age of 35, because the job spotlights also air on KSPS PBS, both young people and adults learn about jobs they may never have been exposed to otherwise.
CareerExplore Northwest has generated in excess of $300,000 in business sponsorship, mostly from new sponsors.