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.
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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.
Kansas City PBS creates “Zoom juries” as a novel approach to engaging citizens on critical pandemic related issues. In ‘Justice Deferred’ we partnered with area courts to examine what it will take to restart criminal jury trials suspended since stay-at-home orders went into effect in March.
Part performance, part conversation, Songversations feature live music and interviews from the comfort of home. Each Tuesday and Thursday at noon (on Facebook Live and WFAE.org), Joni Deutsch (host of WFAE’s award-winning Amplifier podcast) sits down with some of Charlotte’s brightest music-makers for a transparent conversation about the impact of COVID-19 on the local music community, including the challenges and newfound perspective the pandemic has presented to creatives both personally and professionally.
When COVID-19 shutdowns wiped out the possibility of our in-person, hands-on SciGirls Summer camp program for 2020, we created a 5-part series of television programs (30-minutes each) focusing on STEM careers and subjects using modified production resources. Not only was the final result available to the young women who would normally have been part of our camp, but it was also available to our entire community through broadcast, cable, online access, and supporting partner organizations.
COVID-19 and the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s orders for social distancing put a damper on traditional kids’ summer camps. PBS39’s “It’s Camp!” brought the best parts of camp into kids’ homes every weekday during the summer of 2020. This 30-minute program for kids ages 9-14 taught science, art, fitness, survival skills, connecting with nature, and more.
The Memorial Day death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has set off protest around the globe. “Police, Reimagined: The Future of Public Safety” is a four-part community conversation series that attempts the to answer the question: Can you reduce funding for police, and limit their role in communities, while ensuring public safety for all communities?
No in-person events due to COVID-19? No problem! KMUW’s Digital Democracy on Tap shifts enlightening live conversations to an online format that allows for expanded reach, flexibility, and greater opportunities for audience participation, while still hosting high quality discussions of issues facing our local and national community.
Utilizing the power of television and digital platforms Arkansas PBS dedicated our resources (with no budget) for eight weeks to become the state’s main provider of learning tied to state standards for Pre-K – 8, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., while in school instruction stopped due to COVID-19 – at the same time learning how to work virtually to collaborate, produce, direct, edit and promote – to ultimately create more than 400 hours of content, 20 hours of original content and 24 lesson plans resulting in more than 300,300 video views, breaking all of our digital platform records. This daily and essential educational community service, especially critical for 42% of Arkansans who live in rural areas and may not have access to broadband, included five Arkansas Teachers of the Year as our daily hosts who provided a personal connection and daily routine kids were craving; our Department of Education who created curriculum tied to each PBS KIDS program that our Arkansas PBS certified teachers identified and vetted; statewide community partners who created Arkansas-specific content to reduce stress; and a new locally produced puppet segment that turned into a virtual summer camp series.
In the wake of COVID-19, the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) partnered with PBS stations across Kansas to present the New Times, New Tools, New Teaching Virtual Conference to create better teachers. It sold out in two days.
CareerExplore Northwest began in response to feedback from the Spokane area business community expressing a desire for a strong workforce for our region. Employers wanted to hire locally but lamented the lack of qualified or interested applicants. At the same time, local school districts were beginning to expand their goals beyond preparing students for four-year college degrees, recognizing the many options for living-wage jobs that required other types of training.
Starting in 2018, we developed an advisory council made up of the Spokane Workforce Council, industry leaders, Spokane’s chamber of commerce (GSI), several area school districts, regional universities, and our community colleges to help find a solution. The result is CareerExplore Northwest, a multimedia tool and community resource for students and adults that provides practical, up-to-date information about a variety of jobs in our region.
We began by working with businesses to produce 90-second job spotlights. We interviewed employees who were passionate about their work in order to inspire young people to seek out more information. Businesses and grantors cover our production costs and also receive an underwriting schedule on KSPS PBS.
We built a website, CareerExploreNW.org, to feature the job spotlights provide up-to-date data from the Spokane Workforce Council. CareerExplore Northwest has become a bridge between educators and industry. MacKay Manufacturing, our first sponsor, reported that 40 percent of their website traffic was driven by CareerExploreNW.org.
We regularly consult with Career and Technical Education specialists at area school districts to ensure the website meets their educational needs and to help them promote its use in schools. Our advisory council meets regularly to discuss project growth and assess how well the site is meeting local needs.
As we continue the project, at the request of both educators and businesses, we are creating 360-degree interactive Virtual Field Trips, where students can click-and-drag for an up-close look behind the scenes at regional companies.
CareerExplore Northwest has an impact that extends beyond its use in schools. While the primary demographic of the site is people under the age of 35, because the job spotlights also air on KSPS PBS, both young people and adults learn about jobs they may never have been exposed to otherwise.
CareerExplore Northwest has generated in excess of $300,000 in business sponsorship, mostly from new sponsors.