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!

26 results found.

A Parent’s Guide to Public Schools (2019 Finalist)

Voice of San Diego

A Parent’s Guide to Public Schools is a free “consumer report” tool, distributed to 50,000 families to aid parents in making decisions about their childrens’ education. The Guide, produced in English and Spanish, provides an overview of every local public school’s performance in easy-to-read charts, with answers to basic questions about public school options. VOSD works UC San Diego to analyze the school performance data and with the San Diego Workforce Partnership to cover topics like vocational training. Read Current’s coverage of this project.

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.

Developing Local Podcasters for Public Radio

KCPK-LP, licensee Center of the World Festival, Inc.

KCPK-LP is conducting local podcast and broadcast training sessions to educate community members. This nonprofit media organization received its license for low power radio station and went on air in February, 2017. With the recent launch of a simulcast online radio stream, KCPK is now reaching beyond its 5 mile rural mountainous signal area to engage a larger “community” through self-directed training videos in podcasting and copyright laws.

Georgia News Lab

Georgia News Lab (partners with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB TV and Georgia Public Broadcasting)

The Georgia News Lab is an award-winning investigative reporting collaborative. It’s mission is to train the next generation of investigative reporters, make the vital work of watchdog journalism affordable for local news organizations and increase diversity in professional newsrooms. The News Lab is a partnership between the top college journalism programs in Georgia, including historically black colleges (HBCUs), along with the leading news outlets in the Southeast, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

In-Depth Reporting Series

The Highlands Current

Highlands Current Inc. is a nonprofit corporation begun in 2010 created to provide balanced reporting of news and events for the Hudson Valley communities of Cold Spring, Garrison, Nelsonville and Philipstown, N.Y. This special series took a deeper look at likely impact of climate change on the region, the challenges facing local farmers, “living on the edge” and the growing opioid crisis.

Inclusion X Project


BenitoLink is a hyperlocal nonprofit news organization launched by two young Latino staff members with support from a local United Way grant. In 2018, BenitoLink expanded coverage of the local Latino community with funds from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation AT&T Pebble Beach ProAm. In summer 2019, BenitoLink brought on five interns for graphic arts, copy writing, computer applications, and marketing. Our computer science intern was funded largely by the Emma Bowen Foundation.

Living on the Edge

The Highlands Current

Living on the Edge is a special, two-part feature series, published by the Highlands Current, focused on people and families living on “survival budgets” in the MidHudson Valley in New York. The series was inspired by the “ALICE Report” (asset-limited, income-restrained, employed), a United Way study that showed many people in thisregion cannot come up with $400 for an emergency expenses. The Highlands Current decided to try to put the story of real people behind those statistics.

Local Switchboard NYC

Local Switchboard NYC

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.

Sahan Journal

Sahan Journal- KNOW
Nonprofit News Org/Other
Kate Moos

Sahan Journal is a digital-first news operation launched in August of 2019 by Somali-born American journalist Mukhtar Ibrahim a former reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio. Minnesota Public Radio was the first “investor” in this start-up.

At the onset of Covid-19 in Minnesota, Sahan Journal’s staff of seven, plus three Report for America journalists, began publishing essential pandemic coverage in three languages: Hmong, Somali, and Spanish, reflecting the three largest immigrant groups in the state. Over the summer of 2020, as the Twin Cities were rocked by civic unrest in protest of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Sahan Journal offered a distinct lens on new coalitions and social change activism by immigrants and refugees in support of Black Lives Matter. Young people, born in the United States, whose immigrant parents and grandparents would never have become active for civil rights, emerged and joined the forefront of the movement, claiming their own identities as Black Americans.

Sahan Journal has established itself as a meaningful new entry into the Minnesota media scene, and was named Best Web site by the alt weekly newspaper, City Pages in 2020, which wrote: “In a blindingly white industry, the essentiality of a Sahan Journal is even more pronounced. And, with an assemblage of diverse bylines, the online paper is already churning out important stories on underrepresented communities while keeping the mainstream press honest.”

Sahan Journal operates beats on health and education and has offered deep local coverage of Minneapolis primaries, where 5th District Congresswoman Ilhan Omar faced a significant challenge, and where immigrant candidates unseated longtime Minnesota politicians.

In its first year, Sahan Journal has proven the concept that newsrooms led by BIPOC journalists will achieve a new journalism, and will draw young, diverse, engaged news readers. Issues difficult to face in cultural communities, such as teen addiction, are given their due, and unheard voices are amplified.

Minnesota Public Radio was an early investor in this project  Over 18 months, from January of 2019 to August of 2020, Sahan Journal raised $900,000 in philanthropic donations, most from institutional funders. We are currently building out our individual donor and underwriting programs.

The vast majority of Sahan Journal readers are under the age of 40, and 85% of our traffic is from mobile users. Young immigrants and other people of color are engaging with the news offered at Sahan Journal because it meets them where they live. They are a diverse, sophisticated, globally conscious group. While our mission is to serve the immigrant and refugee communities of MInnesota, we are aware that our coverage travels great distances virally. The public lives of immigrants, refugees, and, as we have come to see, other BIPOC have never received coverage commensurate with their contributions to the state. Stories that represent and include young immigrants, Black, and other people of color as participants in public life affirm the possibilities of democracy. While we are still small and a start up, evidence is gathering that Sahan Journal "has a shot."