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 curated 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!

4 results found.

Framed by WDET (2019 Winner)

WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station

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.

Community in Unity (2018 Winner)

Alaska Public Media

“Community in Unity” is simple: get people together who wouldn’t normally interact, sit them in a circle, and listen. We gather inside homeless shelters, community centers, and TV studios for recorded conversations about community topics. Topics have ranged from race and identity to mental health to immigration, and our most recent series gathered inside prisons to discuss incarceration and the justice system. These moderated conversations are recorded and broadcast to amplify the voices of those not often heard in media. Read about “Community In Unity”in Current.

Ode: Stories Without Borders (2017 Winner)

Siouxland Public Media Radio: KWIT-KOJI Siouxland Public Media

Ode is a bimonthly, live storytelling event developed to reflect our community’s economic engine, which has been the meat industry. This relatively high paying/low skill work has drawn immigrants from Latvia, Poland, Germany, Ireland, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Ethiopia, Somalia, etc. For this event – Stories Without Borders – we teamed up with two other nonprofit organizations. We presented six storytellers in a step toward a better future, encouraging awareness, connection, and a celebration of our community’s true story. Read Current’s story.

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."