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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Iowa Science Phenomena allows Iowa educators/scientific community to use and contribute user-generated, standards-aligned, Iowa-based phenomena through a free, publicly available web-based platform.
The Michigan Learning Channel is a 24/7 resource for PreK-12 students with curriculum-based content. Built to eliminate connection issues for Michigan students so they could keep learning at home.
CBC is a data and reporting collaboration between WNIN, the University of Evansville and ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? It provides a unique set of data and reporting about the pandemic’s impact on the Midwest.
We find, support and amplify Utah’s diverse voices through journalistic storytelling. We do this in deep partnership with young journalists, local media, nonprofits and the communities they serve.
The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting project is a statewide news collaborative spearheaded by CivicStory. It generates local news stories about sustainability issues and actions required to resolve the climate crisis. 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.
Over 10 weeks, students gained an understanding of the fundamentals of podcasting, production skills and marketing tips, and they walked away with a resource list for the future. WFAE believes in the power of podcasting to amplify diverse voices, remove barriers to storytelling and to build and connect communities.
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.
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.
Grace Weber’s Music Lab (GWML) is a free monthly music education program and talent accelerator for Milwaukee area high schoolers, providing opportunities to refine performance skills, build connections between engaged and talented young people, expose participants to the multiple career opportunities available in creative industries and to participate in performances and talks. This program is critical to meeting the growing and changing needs of our city and youth. Grace Weber’s Music Lab reaches kids with art forms that are increasingly relevant and central to their lives, including diverse music from hip-hop to alternative to spoken word.
Iowa Science Phenomena
In 2017, Iowa schools and teachers began a dramatic shift in science content expectations and pedagogy with the adoption of the new NGSS-aligned Iowa Science Standards. Iowa PBS recognized a key part of this instructional shift is the emphasis on locally relevant, real-world issues and phenomena. The NGSS, defines “phenomena” as “observable events that occur in the universe and that we can use our science knowledge to explain or predict.” As a statewide public media station, Iowa PBS identified that we had an opportunity to convene educators, scientists, and community members in a way that only public media can. The result was the 2019 creation of Iowa Science Phenomena. This new web-based platform and sustained service aims to build Iowa educator and scientific community member capacity to identify and capture unique, local phenomena across the state of Iowa. Early in the design of this project we collaborated with statewide area education agencies, colleges and universities, conservation and environmental education agencies and community groups with an aim of creating a sense of community ownership and buy-in for this platform and service. Through sustained engagement with Iowa’s rich scientific and educational professionals across the state we have been able to create, curate, collect and share this collection of over 200 user-generated, standards-aligned, Iowa-based phenomena for use in Iowa classrooms – and that collection continues to grow!
However, the measure of this service is not in the quantity of phenomena alone, rather it is in the community-created and owned processes used to vet the user-generated submissions prior to publication. The results are resources which reflect the highest quality in terms of accurate scientific facts, alignment to science standards, representation of best practices for science-based teaching and learning, as well as relevancy to the diverse population of Iowa teachers and students. To ensure Iowa educators are best positioned to use the resources effectively, we have collaborated with master teachers from Iowa school’s small and large to create teacher classroom resources aimed at meeting teachers where they are in their integration of phenomena-based teaching and learning grounded in local student and community interests.
Iowa PBS has twice offered an application-based teacher PD opportunity to learn about/contribute to Iowa Science Phenomena (Iowa SciPhen). Each time twice as many applications have been received as open enrollment spots. The result of these two PD cohorts includes over 150 new phenomena submitted by teachers representing over 25 school districts statewide. In exit surveys, 90 percent of participating teachers reported they would very likely recommend Iowa SciPhen as a resource to fellow science educators.
In 2021, Iowa PBS education staff have been invited to present at 14 local, statewide, regional or national conferences or PD sessions and share how educators and community members can engage with Iowa SciPhen. Most recently Iowa SciPhen staff have been invited to present during a national PBS Education webinar to share processes, lessons learned and recommendations for other public media stations in reaching similar audiences.
Since publicly launching in Summer 2019, the web-based platform has averaged 38%-40% quarter-to-quarter growth in PageViews and Unique PageViews. The Twitter account, launched in January 2020, has averaged 133% quarter-to-quarter growth in audience engagement and 89% growth in audience reach. In 2021, the account averaged over 4,000 audience impressions and over 100 audience engagements each month.
Since publicly launching in Summer 2019, the web-based platform has averaged 38%-40% quarter-to-quarter growth in PageViews and Unique PageViews
As of August 2021, Iowa Science Phenomena has contributed to $260,600 in revenue via grants and underwriting. This includes two Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Conservation Education Program (CEP) grants ($62,600); CPB Education Innovation Grant: ($193,000) , and underwriting support from Alliant Energy ($5,000).