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.
47 results found.
Uncuffed is a podcast and radio series made by people incarcerated in California prisons. KALW producers teach them how to record and edit powerful audio stories about life on the inside.
VPM’s Instagram is a social media strategy that provides a platform to highlight Virginians who educate, entertain and inspire. This strategy has manifest itself through quality and expressive portrait photography, intimate first-person story telling and remarkable community building. VPM’s Instagram gained over 4,000 followers since taking on this strategy, increased our engagement and built new collaborations with local organizations.
KUOW’s Curiosity Club is a nerdy supper club exploring the possibility that great food and compelling storytelling can turn a group of strangers into a community. Ten diverse community members, selected by an application process meet for a series of dinners. A month before each dinner, members are assigned five multimedia KUOW stories as “homework,” where the homework seeds the dinner conversations, which are both 1:1 and whole-group discussions. Afterwards, participants complete a survey, and some write thoughtful, surprising reflections posted to KUOW.org/curiosityclub.
WDET’s mission is to be the authentic voice of Detroit. Framed by WDET is a multimedia series that integrates photography and audio storytelling to present the authentic stories of Detroit’s ethnic and cultural communities on the radio, online, in a photobook, and at pop-up exhibitions in more than 20 art spaces in the Detroit region and beyond. Produced in collaboration with a community of Detroit-based photographers and storytellers, Framed empowers local residents to contribute to and inform the station’s programming. Read Current’s story about Framed.
Hive is WFDD’s multi-tiered education program that, through storytelling, empowers young people (and some grown-ups!) to ask questions, think critically, and care about their community. It provides both content and revenue for WFDD. Though primarily youth-focused, Hive serves people ages 10 – 65+, through a variety of programs, including a summer student Radio Camp and Radio 101 classes embedded in local schools and colleges during the school year.
A recent survey showed 22% of Millennials “haven’t heard or are not sure if they have heard of the Holocaust.” Fifty-eight percent of Americans believe “something like the Holocaust could happen again.” Working with the Holocaust Education Resource Center, WVIA filmed the stories and recorded the voices of Holocaust survivors to share their stories with children in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the hope that “Never Again” will be a life-long reality for all.
Local Switchboard NYC is a collective of women who produce multimedia content for and by the communities of New York City’s varied boroughs. Local journalists and community members are trained in audio production so they can cover their own neighborhoods and tell stories often overlooked and underreported by larger media organizations. This new initiative was piloted at WBAI-FM.
In partnership with public radio KHSU, Public TV stations KEET developed a series showcasing local jazz and heavy metal bands, acapella groups … and even a poetry slam. With a crew of 7, the stations taped the shows at a local theater, edited them into stand-alone half-hour episodes and broadcast the results. The series was designed to raise the profile of little-known bands, as well expand the audience for popular favorites.
The “Only Here” podcast provides an intimate look at one of the world’s busiest border crossings, where San Diego and Tijuana meet. Over time, the podcast has attracted an audience on both sides of the border with stories about the culture and creativity forged in this tense region. Hosted by a member of a bilingual hip-hop band in Tijuana, the podcast deepens understanding and connection between listeners on both sides of the border.
The United States locks up over two million people – more than any other country in the world. Most are people of color, and most come from low income backgrounds. They lose freedom of movement, regular contact with their families, voting rights, and access to phones and the internet. Their faces and voices are erased from our media, except as monsters and fictional stereotypes. Uncuffed gives people in prison the power to tell their own stories.
KALW is an NPR member station in San Francisco with a long history of training reporters, storytellers, and audio engineers. Our mission is to bridge the divides in our communities. One way we do that is by training producers from underserved groups. It was a natural step for us to teach people in prison how to be media makers.
KALW began teaching audio journalism to people at San Quentin Prison in 2012 and expanded to Solano State Prison in 2018. We teach students how to interview, record and edit using ProTools software. Participants learn how to do interviews in the style of StoryCorps. They conduct a 40-60 minute interview, and edit it down to a 6-8 minute audio gem.
Last year, we launched a podcast version of the series. In it, the producers have roundtable conversations about the themes brought up in their interviews. We’ve aired more than 90 interviews and stories produced behind bars, and our podcast has over 33,000 downloads.
Uncuffed’s mission is to create emotional, human stories to change the narrative around incarcerated people, and change the criminal justice system. An advisory board of formerly incarcerated people help us stay true to that mission.
The work has been extremely successful. Uncuffed producers have won several awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the San Francisco Press Club. The New York Times called Uncuffed a “moving new show.” We were featured on Ear Hustle, Reveal, Snap Judgment, KQED, The California Report, KCRW, the UK’s National Prison Radio and other outlets. The statewide prison TV system now broadcasts many of our pieces, allowing other prisoners to see people like themselves in a positive light.
In-person classes are cancelled due to the pandemic but we’ve continued mail-in journalism courses. Meanwhile, we’ve used our network and reputation to tell the story of how COVID has ravaged prisons. We made a special episode featuring people writing letters to their loved ones in prison, whom they haven’t been able to visit. Our relationships in the community have improved local coverage of prisons, for KALW, and for our partner outlets.
Uncuffed can be a model for any media outlet with a prison in its area. We’ve already helped similar projects get off the ground, and are willing and able to offer our resources and experience to other groups. In nearly every prison there are arts and educational programs funded by governments and nonprofits. Especially in the current era of prison reform, opportunities to teach in prison are on the rise.
Our listeners are deeply moved by these stories, and often mention that Uncuffed is one of their favorite programs. One listener wrote, “I will do my part: donating, protesting, writing to lawmakers, sharing your story. I will carry your story in my heart and head, allowing it to inspire me, to guide my own actions and to stay in the fight.”
For the participants in the program, this work is life-changing. They learn valuable skills in communications and media, and see themselves as people whose voices matter.
“I feel as if I am finally part of something worth being a part of,” says producer Brian Thames. “I’m a part of humanity who actively foster goodness and empathy in the world.”
Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, the founders of PRX’s Ear Hustle, were trained in our program. Woods was granted a commutation citing his work on the show. Both men are now employed by PRX, creating a podcast that exposes millions to listeners to the injustices of mass incarceration.
Another past participant, Adnan Khan, says our program gave him his first glimpse of the power of his words. While incarcerated, he created a resentencing bill that set him and others free. Now he runs an advocacy organization and is regularly quoted on prison issues.
KALW helped San Quentin establish a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists which has launched media careers for several people post-incarceration, and which offers seminars on prison reporting for journalists around our region.
Uncuffed stories also have a profound impact on the interviewees and their families. One man shared his story widely after he paroled. He said it was the key to his community understanding that he had changed, and welcoming him home.
Uncuffed is building momentum. As our audience grows, the opportunities to expand the program and its impact multiply. We hope many other stations follow our model, connecting the public outside to the community inside.
The California Arts Council’s Arts in Corrections program gave KALW $93,400 for the first two years of our program. After demonstrating our program’s success, we were granted a new contract for $693,000 over three years. To date we’ve also received $1,200 by licensing stories to other outlets.http://www.weareuncuffed.org