Local that Works

Local that Works is an annual contest that spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations, and nonprofit news organizations in the U.S.

Explore the LTW database of 350+ projects. Entries from the 2020 contest will be added to this database this fall.

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

To see previous Local that Works contest winners, finalists and semi-finalists, click on green, purple or orange tags and our judges’ favorite projects will show up in the left column.

Get inspired!

81 results found.

“I just want to testify…”


To celebrate the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, PBS in Topeka created this two-hour community conversation with students and teachers from the segregation era. Shot in a modern-day Cinema Verite’ style on a single day in 2019, students and teachers from the four segregated Black schools in Topeka talked about their lives prior to and after integration. The five-part series included: Growing up in Topeka’s Black Community; Family, Friends, Neighbors; School and You (Segregation); School and You (Integration); and After-effects (outcomes, impact).

Catalyst Radio

Grand Rapids Community Media Center

Catalyst Radio is a weekly public affairs program produced by Grand Rapids (MI) Community Media Center. CMC’s Catalyst Radio features interviews with organizations and people working on social change, community support, and media issues. This effort is a partnership between The Rapidian, an online platform for community journalism and WYCE, an independent, community radio station in Grand Rapids.

Citizens Journalism Workshop

Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, which runs IowaWatch.org, hosted a workshop in Iowa City in April 2019 to inform the public about behind-the-scenes practices used to tell a truthful news story. The workshop, “Creative Minds: Journalism Workshop Engaging Citizens In the News,” fostered two-way communication between participating newsroom journalists and 15 local residents. This was a pilot project to determine public interest in such a workshop and to see whether ICPAJ could pull it off. The answer to both was: yes.

CoastLine – Beneath the Surface


Beneath the Surface is a 12-month series on WHQR’s locally produced program CoastLine focusing on civil discourse. Members of the community engage in a roundtable style conversation, one that is lively and respectful, and explores a range of topics. The program focuses on understanding how lived experiences shape people’s views and, hopefully helps participants become better listeners who are more comfortable spending time with people with different perspectives.

Deep Dive

WMEA Maine Public

Maine Public’s Deep Dive is a space for complex, in-depth, high impact reporting. The first edition focused on childcare issues in the state, and utilized the entire 18-member news team to create web, radio and TV stories. Maine Calling, the local talk show, broadcast two editions that opened and closed the series. The station developed a communications plan to inform the audience, politicians and other stakeholders. The capstone moment was a public event at Portland Public Library where reporters discussed their work and took questions from the public.

Democracy & Me

Cincinnati Public Radio

Democracy & Me is an educational outreach program of Cincinnati Public Radio aimed “increasing students’ civic participation as they become adults.” The program provides social studies teachers with tools, learning experiences, lesson plans, news stories and a blog focused on the American electoral process and the roles of citizens and the media. The fall teacher training session focused on problem-based learning; the spring sessions focused on podcasting project for the classroom, with 29 teachers (reaching 2,330 students) registered for the D&M workshops.

Justice Deferred

KCPT - Kansas City PBS
Joint Licensee
Nick Haines

We don’t get calls from judges very often. So when the Chief Judge of the District Court in Kansas contacted us asking for our help, he certainly got our attention.

Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan wanted to know what it would take to bring citizens back into the courtroom. It may not be something many of us have thought much about, but since the pandemic began there’s been virtually no criminal jury trials anywhere in the country. Now area courts are worried if they’ll ever be able to convince twelve people to sit next to each other in a courtroom again. Would you serve on a jury in the middle of a pandemic?

That’s what Judge Kelly and the District Court wanted to know. And could this public television station help them understand what it would take to get people to serve?

The district court in collaboration with our county Bar Association agreed to send out 12 official jury notices to citizens who were asked to join us on a video call. We had no say on who was chosen. These citizens were picked just like a regular jury.

Their candid exchanges from wearing masks, to sitting next to each other for hours on end was the basis for a program that has been shared with courts across the state of Kansas and is already changing the way area courts are working to reconvene juries.

Seldom do we engage in work that has such instantaneous results. But by answering a real life dilemma brought to us by an important community player, ‘Justice Deferred’ prompted swift change.

The Kansas Supreme Court’s Office of Judicial Administration shared the entire “Zoom Jury” feed with district courts administrators throughout the state of Kansas.

In the specific District Court featured in the broadcast, changes were made to the official plan to reconvene juries. The court’s administrator said, “We added temperature checks to the plan. We’re looking to purchase autonomous machines since we don’t have staff to implement manual checks. We added additional breaks for jurors following concerns over mask fatigue.”

Since broadcast, Kansas City PBS has been approached by other organizations interested in using the Zoom jury concept to answer critical questions they are confronting. From an area library that is working on how to safely reopen to the public to a local government who wants to impanel a random jury of citizens to help prioritize budget cuts. With the pandemic shrinking tax revenues would citizens reduce curbside recycling or the size of the public works crews that work on snow removal and pothole repair.

Viewer comments were gratifying:

“Your program this evening on the impact of the pandemic on our justice system was fascinating, insightful and honestly ground breaking. Good on you. No, great on you. And great for us, your viewers.

“This program last night was brilliant! It was fascinating and educational. What a great idea you had to do it and the way you did it.

“I’m not sure if KCPT is planning on archiving this program focusing on #COVID19’s impact on our justice system, but it will be very helpful to civics & government teachers. Judges & lawyers across the country are struggling with these issues – maybe @NewsHour should pick it up? Hats off to everybody involved this was very well done!”