Local that Works

Local that Works is an annual contest that spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations, and nonprofit news organizations in the U.S.

Explore the curated LTW database of 350+ projects. Entries from the 2020 contest will be added to this database this fall.

Tips on using the database: If viewing this on a computer, all projects are listed in the left column. Click on a project name and its longer profile will appear in the right column. If viewing on mobile, clicking on a project name will load the full listing on your screen.

You can filter your results by selecting a tag or multiple tags in the categories drop down menu and clicking on search. If you want to change, broaden or narrow the results, make sure to uncheck categories for subsequent searches.

To see previous Local that Works contest winners, finalists and semi-finalists, click on green, purple or orange tags and our judges’ favorite projects will show up in the left column.

Get inspired!

21 results found.

New Jersey Sustainability Reporting Project


The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting project – a state wide news collaborative spearheaded by CivicStory – generates local news stories about sustainability issues and actions required to resolve our climate crises. Through 6-month fellowships, early to mid-career journalists report for diverse New Jersey newsrooms, and help citizens shift from day-to-day thinking to longer-term consideration of the needs, health, and wellbeing of future generations.

American Homefront


American Homefront is a national/local collaborative reporting project focused on improving coverage of military and veterans issues. WIth support from CPB, WUNC’s dedicated full-time reporter and full-time editor moderate a Slack channel and lead weekly calls with partner stations: KPCC (Los Angeles), Colorado Public Radio, Texas Public Radio (San Antonio) and WUSF (Tampa) WUNC’s listening area includes Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune, two of the largest military installations. American Homefront has helped WUNC build relationships with those communities and host the station’s first two engagement events in Fayetteville/Fort Bragg.

Georgia News Lab

Georgia News Lab (partners with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB TV and Georgia Public Broadcasting)

The Georgia News Lab is an award-winning investigative reporting collaborative. It’s mission is to train the next generation of investigative reporters, make the vital work of watchdog journalism affordable for local news organizations and increase diversity in professional newsrooms. The News Lab is a partnership between the top college journalism programs in Georgia, including historically black colleges (HBCUs), along with the leading news outlets in the Southeast, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Lost Coast Sessions: Word Humboldt


In partnership with public radio KHSU, Public TV stations KEET developed a series showcasing local jazz and heavy metal bands, acapella groups … and even a poetry slam. With a crew of 7, the stations taped the shows at a local theater, edited them into stand-alone half-hour episodes and broadcast the results. The series was designed to raise the profile of little-known bands, as well expand the audience for popular favorites.

Seeking Conviction

Carolina Public Press

Carolina Public Press led a first-of-its-kind statewide investigative reporting collaboration in North Carolina including 11 news organizations Over six and a half months, journalists analyzed statewide court data and conducted extensive interviews with sexual assault survivors, victim advocates, medical professionals, law enforcement, prosecutors and state officials across North Carolina. The investigation revealed that one in four sexual assault cases result in a conviction, and in 30 of the state’s 100 counties, there were no convictions at all in four and a half years.

100 Days in Appalachia

100 Days in Appalachia

100 Days in Appalachia was born the day after the 2016 election. Weary of parachuting journalists seeking insights into rural America, we launched 100 Days to challenge the narratives that had reduced our region to a handful of narrow stories. Appalachia is a large, complex region comprising 13 states and 25 million people. 100 Days is designed to share our stories with a global audience as we cover the complicated landscape of American politics through the prism of Appalachia.

Breaking Heroin’s Grip: Road to Recovery

Maryland Public Television

The continuing opioid crisis in communities served by Maryland Public Television’s broadcast signal prompted the station to develop an awareness and education initiative for early 2017. Giving the multi-month project the title of “Addiction & Recovery,” MPT sought to honestly portray the dark side of addiction while also providing hope, encouragement and access to professional help for those impacted by opioid abuse. The effort culminated in the broadcast of a 2017 production called Breaking Heroin’s Grip: Road to Recovery.

The Life Autistic

Iowa PBS
Public TV
Ken Harrison

Iowa PBS has been including Iowans with disabilities in its local content for several years. With a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and support from the Max and Helen Guernsey Charitable Foundation, Iowa PBS has expanded its coverage of Iowa’s disability communities, placing Iowans with disabilities squarely at the center of their own stories. Beyond being a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this Iowa PBS initiative has increased awareness of Iowans with disabilities and set the stage for greater inclusivity in Iowa PBS local content from July 2020 onward.

As part of this initiative, Iowa PBS launched The Life Autistic, a multi-platform project that explores the lives of Iowans with Autism Spectrum Disorder. By taking a close look at their diagnoses, treatments, family life, and daily routines, viewers gain an intimate perspective on the lives of people on the spectrum. Through hearing from experts and educators, including author and activist Temple Grandin, they develop a better understanding of the many expressions of autism. The Life Autistic has reached hundreds of thousands of people across the state.

Unique stories from the web series were gathered together into The Life Autistic Collection, a 60-minute documentary that introduces viewers to several Iowans on the spectrum, from the very young to the elderly.

One of the people featured is Lainie, who lives in a Balance Autism Campus group home where she receives 24/7 support and works part-time in their office doing cleaning. Another is Mike, who works for Talk To Me Technologies in Cedar Falls. His wife is an occupational therapist and together they are raising two sons with autism. A third, named Tyler, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 22 months when his language abilities regressed. He now speaks publicly as an autism awareness advocate and says his biggest successes include graduating from college, getting a full-time job, and serving as a board member for the Autism Society of Iowa.