Local that Works

Local that Works spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations and nonprofit 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 journalism.

Explore the database of 400+ Local that Works projects. To see previous Local that Works contest winners, finalists and semifinalists, click on green, purple or orange tags and our judges’ favorites will show up in the left column.

Other 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. IMPORTANT: If you want to change, broaden or narrow the results, make sure to uncheck categories for subsequent searches.

Get inspired!

11 results found.

The Bay


The Bay podcast is a space for local news to breathe. The Bay offers voices and perspectives rarely heard inmedia, and engages listeners through callouts, voice memos, phone calls and social media. The Bay has hosted several well-attended live events, including a storytelling event on California wildfires (with Snap Judgment); a live podcast taping about housing in the Bay Area; and two happy hours with listeners in San Francisco and Oakland. Since its February 2018 launch, the Bay has had more than 2 million downloads.

Community Conversation on Mental Health

88.5 WFDD

For our most recent community conversation event, instead of dictating the topic of discussion we posed the question to our listeners using a web module powered by Hearken. Nearly 50 topics were proposed, and eventually over 160 people selected mental health as the topic. At the community conversation, listeners rotated through tables having quick discussions on each question. We put those questions again to a voting round, and later reported a full feature story on the winning question.

Human Voter Guide


Human Voter Guide started in 2016 on the radio and online in the simple form of questions and answers. Its goal was to help Southern California residents navigate elections and voting through personalized research. This year, we took the human voter guide approach to the next level. The web-based engagement platform Hearken and the text-messaging engagement service GroundSource became key partners. Their tools allowed us to track a larger volume of questions and offer a brand-new service: texting election-related reminders.

Podcast Party

Nashville Public Radio

Podcast Party is a live event that brings together several of our station’s podcasts. For one evening, our listeners can see their favorite podcast hosts, and get a new perspective of some of their favorite stories. Over the course of two hours, the event is a multi-act showcase of our podcasts in new, creative, whimsical, and thought-provoking interpretations. This includes a live musical performance, a short exercise break, and a puppet show version of an episode of Curious Nashville.



Every day at KUT, we try to think about what you want to know. That’s what drives the decisions we make about the stories we tell. But we wanted to try an experiment to bring you, the audience, closer to the news and storytelling we do at KUT. So, we’re starting a project called ATXplained. The project starts with a simple question: What are you curious about?

Bay Curious


Using the Hearken Platform, KQED’s new podcast, Bay Curious, gets to the bottom of the mysteries — both profound and peculiar — that give the Bay Area its unique identity. And we’ll do it with your help! You ask the questions. You decide what Bay Curious investigates. And you join us on the journey to find the answers.

Curious Cbus


A Hearken Project exploring a deeper partnership with the local daily newspaper (under new ownership). “Are you curious about Columbus? Find yourself asking questions about the city, the region or the people of central Ohio? Then submit your question to Curious Cbus and we’ll work on getting answers, together, through the resources of 89.7 NPR News, WOSU TV, Classical 101, and the WOSU Digital Media teams.”

How KPCC-LAist Embraced Its Role As L.A.’s Help Desk

KPCC + LAist
Public Radio
Kristen Muller

Between March and August 2020, the KPCC-LAist newsroom received more than 3,800 pandemic-related questions. Most of these have come through Hearken, an engagement platform that allows readers to ask questions through our website. We have also received more than 200 questions from community members via GroundSource’s SMS texting platform.

We personally answered more than 3,300 of those questions via email and text message, leveraging the reporting our newsroom was already doing. We had developed the framework for this kind of help desk approach through previous election and wildfire engagement initiatives.

In order to keep up with demand, we had to overhaul our workflow. We staggered schedules to allow for all-day coverage seven days a week. We hired a temporary engagement producer to support the team’s efforts. We maintained a master database that includes questions, the askers’ contact information, and whether a reporter is interested or has reached out to them, among other details. This allows producers, reporters, and editors to easily search for trends, story ideas, and potential sources.

We want to answer people’s questions in their preferred time frame, language, and platform. To that end, we have turned to text messaging and direct mail distribution to reach people without reliable internet access.

Our texting service has grown to include a six-day-a-week coronavirus news roundup that is sent to more than 250 people. About 38 percent of L.A. County residents speak Spanish. So, we’ve directed many of our COVID-19 engagement efforts toward Spanish speakers. Of the 12,670 mailers that were sent to households in May, over 7000 were in Spanish and included links to resources and our texting service.

We also turned to local community, ethnic, and in-language media to reach different audiences with important coronavirus-related information. For example, we made content available to newsrooms like Boyle Heights Beat, which serves an immigrant neighborhood in East L.A., and have had a journalist regularly appear on KAZN, a Mandarin-language radio station.