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!

12 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.

Battling Opioids (2019 Finalist)

Pennsylvania Public Media

Seven Pennsylvania Public Media stations (WHYY, WITF, WLVT/PBS39, WPSU, WQED, WQLN, and WVIA) developed a collaborative programming and online media effort focused on the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania with the goals of increasing awareness, reducing stigma, and helping affected people find treatment. This state-wide project included long-form documentaries, online features, educational interstitials, and strong social media support. Battling Opioids helped to direct more than 23,000 calls to the state helpline since the project started by highlighting the phone number at every touchpoint. Read Current’s coverage of this project.

Engage ICT: Democracy on Tap (2019 Finalist)

KMUW, Wichita's NPR station

Engage ICT Engage ICT: Democracy on Tap” is an ongoing community conversation project that has evolved into a popular monthly event that allows local citizens to explore the most important issues facing people in and around Wichita, Kansas. Launched with support from the Knight Foundation, Engage ICT has developed a multimedia format, including audio, video, audience interaction and refreshments. Engage ICT sessions are streamed via Facebook Live, giving those unable to physically attend a chance to join the conversation. Additional reference materials  from the public library are also provided on the topics covered. Read more about this project in Current.

North Country Public Radio “In Your Town” (2018 Finalist)

North Country Public Radio

North Country at Work (NC@W) collects photographs and audio content that tell the historic -and contemporary — stories of people at work across the vast rural geography served by North Country Public Radio. During the past year we implemented a new phase, returning to communities to collect photos and audio. For the third visit we hold a work-related story slam. NC@W has become an on-going project at NCPR and we are about to focus on post-WW II work stories.

PBS Charlotte 3-D Project: Dreamers, Doers, Destiny (2018 Finalist)

WTVI

Via a four-year community engagement campaign that began in fall 2017, WTVI PBS Charlotte partnered with local workforce-related organizations to roll-out a three-part media project (Dreamers, Doers, Destiny) designed to empower youth to capitalize on their dreams through excellence, efficiency, effectiveness and entrepreneurship. Our target goal is to engage with and help educate local public high school students and young adults in career pathways and leadership training leading to education completion and lasting success in the workforce. Read Current’s story about this project.

The Intersection (2018 Finalist)

KALW

THE INTERSECTION is a series of hyperlocal audio documentaries that look at our changing region through physical intersections. We spend as long as it takes — sometimes a day, sometimes over a year — capturing the voices of people who live and work near a specific intersection in the Bay Area. We pinpoint the different forces and factors at play there and, over the course of a piece or season, we connect the dots between the past, present and future. Read Current’s story.

414 Music

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Radio Milwaukee has the mission to foster community engagement through music and stories. A pillar of this mission is to provide a platform for local musicians to share their work with an engaged and supportive listener base. Key pieces: 414 Music Live a weekly live performance by local artists in front of a live audience, that is broadcast and streamed live; the annual Radio Milwaukee Music Awards; and 414music.fm, an HD channel and digital stream broadcasting only Milwaukee music.

90.5 WUOL Education Outreach (2017 Finalist)

Louisville Public Media

The 90.5 WUOL Education Outreach includes Instrumental Partners, accepting donated instruments and placing them in schools; Summer Listening that encouraged families to listen together; and an in-school program Sharing Music, Sharing Stories, through which, our education director, Sara Soltau, met over 2,000 students, performing a one-woman show, recording stories and creating features for broadcast as she visited students in the Louisville and Southern Indiana school districts, the Americana Community Center and Kentucky Refugee Ministries. Read Current’s story.

Uncuffed

KALW
2020
Public Radio
Eli Wirtschafter
eli@kalw.org

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