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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On the first Thursday of every month from 7 to 8 p.m., WTIP hosts a live interactive conversation on an issue of great community importance. This participatory program is designed to give everyone a voice in the meaningful and vital discussions on public affairs issues that shape the health and well-being of our community. Because we have had to pivot our technical approach to the program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our community guests are invited to participate through Zoom and listeners are invited to call in or email with questions, comments and concerns prior to the show.
Coping with Covid-19 is a series, and each part is 60 seconds worth of credible information about the coronavirus from respected medical and scientific authorities.
Fearing an information gap in North Carolina’s underserved communities facing an unprecedented pandemic, Carolina Public Press (CPP) launched the Emergency News Team (ENT) immediately after COVID-19 struck the state. The initiative was a collaborative, multifaceted, multilingual program to help all North Carolinians — especially underserved rural residents — access reliable and timely COVID-19 news and information.
The Pittsburgh region is run in large part by more than 500 unelected board members of authorities, commissions and other governmental agencies who often decide what does and doesn’t get built, who gets contracts and grants, what rates and fees we pay and more. This project sheds light on these panels and their roles, providing information about each member and inviting analysis of this important part of the region’s power structure.
The COVID-19 Brief is a weekly live, call-in show with the Homer Unified Command-The City of Homer, South Peninsula Hospital, AK Dept of Public Health and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to update the community on the local covid-19 situation, allow listeners to call in and ask questions and allow community leaders and healthcare professionals to disseminate vital information to the community.
Since the pandemic hit Nevada, we have aimed to provide the most comprehensive COVID-19 data, infographics and informed context in the state. As the only major paywall-free news site in Nevada (excluding radio and television sites), all of our in-depth coronavirus reporting is accessible to all Nevadans regardless of ability to pay.
Launched in March 2020 as the coronavirus threat began to surge, “The Daily Dose” podcast serves as a twelve-minute evening roundup of WYPR’s latest local and state reporting on Maryland’s COVID-19 response, as well as a forum for community members who want to share their stories about everyday life during the pandemic. This daily podcast fosters greater knowledge, connection and understanding for Marylanders navigating the ongoing public health crisis.
Through its partnership with local government, WCTE was able to broadcast live emergency updates from inside Putnam County’s Emergency Operations Center just hours after an EF4 tornado struck Cookeville, destroying entire subdivisions and killing more than 20 people. This capability existed because county officials partnered to provide WCTE with studio space, audio and video equipment and a direct internet link between the Emergency Management Agency building and WCTE’s Master Control.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, WKAR shifted resources to launch a new show “COVID-19: Answers and Insight,” a weekly series of roundtable discussions with experts to examine the health crisis and provide the public with the much-needed accurate, timely information. The program aired on PBS stations across Michigan, with the first episode airing on March 26 — just two weeks after schools closed in Michigan and WKAR employees were directed to work from home.
WTIP Community Conversations
Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, WTIP has focused our monthly Community Conversations on issues that deeply affect the health and well-being of Cook County residents. Since March 2020, our small news team has extensively covered the potential and current local public health impacts of COVID-19. We have a great working relationship with our local health organizations, and panel discussions about COVID-19 have included the Cook County Public Health Administrator, local physicians, hospital administrators and elected officials.
The WTIP news team has also built an ongoing, public discussion around how our community handles the delicate and sometimes precarious balance between public health concerns and keeping our local economy solvent, especially related to tourism, our main industry. Recently, we tackled the topic of COVID-19 and re-opening our area schools.
In keeping with our commitment to provide a community forum and welcome the voices of community members, WTIP invited officials from all four Cook County schools to discuss the opening plan for schools this fall. Past Community Conversations have included a live panel of knowledgeable guests and had a call-in option for listeners. Because we have had to limit the number of people at the station, WTIP had to change the way we produce and engineer the show, relying on Zoom to connect our panel members, and asking our listeners to submit questions ahead of time. The public response has been overwhelming and very positive. Like so many other organizations, we have been forced to pivot our way of doing things, in order to keep our staff and community safe, while never losing sight of our mission.
One of our core values is to “recognize the voices and perspectives of everyone in our community, particularly young people and elders.” WTIP’s monthly Community Conversations have proven to be the best format to welcome in listeners and key voices into a larger conversation. We are truly building community, and it’s something that we’re very proud of.
People in our small, rural community have come to rely on WTIP for the news that affects all of us directly – and very personally. As an independent community radio station that is not affiliated with a larger public network, the work we do is locally focused and driven.
We have two full-time news reporters who are tasked with covering all of the news in our area – from "hard news" to human interest stories, we focus on the voices and perspectives of the people who live and work here. Our area is vast (encompassing about 1,500 square miles), but our population of residents is relatively small (just over 5,000 residents). At the edge of Canada and serving as the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, our content since we went on the air in 1998 has been focused on life in the north woods. But as of early March, our staff and news reporters have been forced to prioritize the life and death realities of a global pandemic here at the figurative "end of the road."
Our county is currently seeing the first spike in COVID-19 cases, and WTIP is the only source of up-to-the-minute information and public health announcements that affect our entire population of residents and visitors. The community impact of following daily developments and reporting on public health and community issues is immense. Our news team creates, on average, about 500 stories a year, and the in-depth, monthly Community Conversations are a great tool to explore these relevant issues through a variety of voices and perspectives. The work done by WTIP News at this very critical time is an essential part of how we interact and communicate with each other. WTIP must decide how these important topics are framed in the public sphere, which will ultimately shape how decisions are made that affect our residents and visitors, as we move forward into some concerning and uncharted territory.
We received a $5,000 Google Journalism Emergency Fund grant in May of 2020 for news related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We used the grant funding for radio production directly related to Community Conversations in June and July.