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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‘Homegoings’ is a special series from Vermont Public Radio that features conversations with musicians of color who live in Vermont — about Black grief, resilience and music.
Blunt Youth Radio launched two youth audio initiatives with new partners: a 12-week, all-virtual program on climate, and three in-person, daylong intro to audio making workshops at the library.
Native Nevada is a podcast series that brings greater depth and understanding of the culture, issues, and long-misrepresented history of Nevada’s Indigenous Peoples.
HEAR ARIZONA podcasts tell stories dedicated to addressing the important issues in our community and empowering listeners to find answers for their own lives.
A collaborative podcast from nonprofit newsrooms in Montana examines our current political moment through stories about the complex people and beliefs that shape our state.
WUSF created Arts Axis Florida for our community to stay connected online to local arts organizations during the pandemic. This free arts hub connects audiences to local performances and exhibitions.
In October of 2020, WFAE collaborated with community institutions to produce the Charlotte Podcast Festival, the city’s first podcast festival designed to inform, enrich, and inspire audio storytellers.
“By Every Measure” is an episodic podcast exploring systemic racism, locally. The series examines Milwaukee’s racial inequities through the lenses of data, policy, storytelling and problem-solving.
KUER’s politics and government podcast and engagement initiatives provide a fun and accessible way to understand how bills become laws at the Utah Legislature and what they mean for the average person.
Launched on the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, ‘Homegoings’ seeks to foster important conversations about Black joy, rage and healing through the lens of art, rather than trauma.
“The shape of Black grief is not always a sad one,” lead producer Myra Flynn says in the opening episode of the series. “Sometimes, in our culture — as I also identify as Black — grief can simultaneously hold mourning and sadness, alongside full displays of joy, healing, dancing, good food and, more often than not, at its center is music.
“These layered displays of Black grief have a name: Homegoings — an often elaborate African-American funeral tradition marking the going-home of the dead.”
In each episode of ‘Homegoings,’ Flynn, who conceived of this series just weeks after joining VPR as an engagement producer, speaks with a Vermont-based artists of color about their craft, and explores what she calls the “four pillars of Black response in a post-Floyd era: Grief, rage, joy and healing.” Each episode concludes with a full, deep listen to one of the artist’s songs.
The four-part weekly series ran under the umbrella of Brave Little State, VPR’s people-powered journalism podcast. The project also had a broadcast component: The first three installments aired in a broadcast special on Juneteenth, and the fourth installment aired during a live conversation about the series between Flynn and VPR host Connor Cyrus.
With musical styles ranging from punk and folk to hip-hop and blues, disarmingly intimate conversations and electrifying project visuals, ‘Homegoings’ presents a unique window into Vermont’s BIPOC music scene, and offers a compelling alternative to coverage that typically centers trauma in its storytelling.
In a state like Vermont, that has such an overwhelmingly white presence, being privy to vulnerable conversations between local folks of color is a rarity that many listeners seemed to treasure.
Vermont communities have responded in emails, phone calls, and personal interactions, with much appreciation for 'Homegoings.' Erik Neilsen of Brookfield, Vermont, wrote in to say: “I found [Myra] personable yet serious, able to engage in in-depth conversations with her fellow musicians of color while including some of her own observations in a very good balance."
Brave Little State also received feedback that the music selection was exceptionally broad and interesting, varying from punk to folk, and hop-hop to blues. “I like that [Myra Flynn] chose a broad slice of music rather than the obvious cliches,” said Francois de Melogue of Saint Albans, Vermont.
And Sarah Ashworth, Vermont Public’s vice president of content, added: “This series has been so good and represents the best of public media and our ability to tell stories through sound and music and an adherence to good writing. This work represents what I hope we can be in this new public media organization and how we can connect Vermonters through deep conversations that are honest and open."
A most important gauge of positive community feedback has been in the continued sharing of stories from other local BIPOC peoples, who are thankful to hear VPR tell Black stories with reflective and accurate representation.
'Homegoings' appeared within Brave Little State, a program that generates approximately $4,500 per month in revenue from local underwriters.
We also hope to host a ticketed concert, in partnership with a prominent music venue in Vermont, when the pandemic allows. This concert would feature as many of the 'Homegoings' artists as possible, benefit and celebrate those artists, and create an important in-person component to a project that emphasizes thoughtful listening and brave conversation.