Local that Works spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations and nonprofit and digital news organizations in the U.S. LTW includes an annual contest and a database (below). LTW produces webinars that offer insights into projects and organizations that are reshaping local civic journalism.
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KVMR improved cross-platform emergency broadcast capabilities to engage, inform and educate listeners during wildfires and wants to help community radio stations provide similar services.
Conecta Arizona is a multi-platform news and information service – distributed through WhatApp, Facebook, Telegram, radio and podcast – that serves Spanish-speakers in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.
We work with residents and organizations to create and distribute brochures about pollution and public health to rural and underserved communities.
In Oakland, Black and brown communities have undeniably been impacted the most by COVID-19. We designed a multi-platform information campaign to answer their questions about vaccines.
Documented Semanal: An Interactive WhatsApp Channel for New York’s Spanish-Speaking Immigrant CommunityDocumented
Documented Semanal is an interactive Spanish-language news service of the most important news for immigrant New Yorkers and answers to their most pressing questions.
On the first Thursday of every month from 7 to 8 p.m., WTIP hosts a live interactive conversation on an issue of great community importance. This participatory program is designed to give everyone a voice in the meaningful and vital discussions on public affairs issues that shape the health and well-being of our community. Because we have had to pivot our technical approach to the program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our community guests are invited to participate through Zoom and listeners are invited to call in or email with questions, comments and concerns prior to the show.
Coping with Covid-19 is a series, and each part is 60 seconds worth of credible information about the coronavirus from respected medical and scientific authorities.
Fearing an information gap in North Carolina’s underserved communities facing an unprecedented pandemic, Carolina Public Press (CPP) launched the Emergency News Team (ENT) immediately after COVID-19 struck the state. The initiative was a collaborative, multifaceted, multilingual program to help all North Carolinians — especially underserved rural residents — access reliable and timely COVID-19 news and information.
The Pittsburgh region is run in large part by more than 500 unelected board members of authorities, commissions and other governmental agencies who often decide what does and doesn’t get built, who gets contracts and grants, what rates and fees we pay and more. This project sheds light on these panels and their roles, providing information about each member and inviting analysis of this important part of the region’s power structure.
The COVID-19 Brief is a weekly live, call-in show with the Homer Unified Command-The City of Homer, South Peninsula Hospital, AK Dept of Public Health and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to update the community on the local covid-19 situation, allow listeners to call in and ask questions and allow community leaders and healthcare professionals to disseminate vital information to the community.
Since the pandemic hit Nevada, we have aimed to provide the most comprehensive COVID-19 data, infographics and informed context in the state. As the only major paywall-free news site in Nevada (excluding radio and television sites), all of our in-depth coronavirus reporting is accessible to all Nevadans regardless of ability to pay.
Launched in March 2020 as the coronavirus threat began to surge, “The Daily Dose” podcast serves as a twelve-minute evening roundup of WYPR’s latest local and state reporting on Maryland’s COVID-19 response, as well as a forum for community members who want to share their stories about everyday life during the pandemic. This daily podcast fosters greater knowledge, connection and understanding for Marylanders navigating the ongoing public health crisis.
Through its partnership with local government, WCTE was able to broadcast live emergency updates from inside Putnam County’s Emergency Operations Center just hours after an EF4 tornado struck Cookeville, destroying entire subdivisions and killing more than 20 people. This capability existed because county officials partnered to provide WCTE with studio space, audio and video equipment and a direct internet link between the Emergency Management Agency building and WCTE’s Master Control.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, WKAR shifted resources to launch a new show “COVID-19: Answers and Insight,” a weekly series of roundtable discussions with experts to examine the health crisis and provide the public with the much-needed accurate, timely information. The program aired on PBS stations across Michigan, with the first episode airing on March 26 — just two weeks after schools closed in Michigan and WKAR employees were directed to work from home.
In November of 2018, KVMR raised over $43,000 dollars in just one day for the survivors of the catastrophic Camp Fire in Paradise, CA located just an hour and a half away from the station. In addition to KVMR’s commitment to supporting their neighbors through efforts like this, the station is also the official Emergency Broadcaster in the region. During summer 2019, a team of 10 broadcasters were trained to take the lead in case of emergency.
“Houston after Harvey” is a multi-platform content initiative from Houston Public Media that examines the impact of the Texas Gulf Coast’s most severe storms through personal stories, intimate video interviews, and in-depth news coverage. Content produced for the project included multiple podcasts, video series, and television and radio specials.
Fire Tracker is an app offering information about California wildfires and provides emergency services in 36 counties.
Emergency Broadcasting 101
As climate change and weather-related events presented new challenges for KVMR over the past three years, the station developed an innovative new program to improve its emergency coverage and services.
KVMR’s cross-platform approach to providing emergency information includes FM broadcasts, up-to-date social media posts and on-demand internet resources throughout each event. KVMR has engaged a comprehensive training program for its volunteers, developing a network of “go-to” sources that provide reliable emergency information including Nevada County’s Office of Emergency Services and Yubanet – an online publication for the Sierra Nevada region known for it’s up to the minute fire reporting.
KVMR’s emergency coverage expands and connects the listening audience and is a lifeline for elderly and low-income community members as well as those without internet access who live in remote and rural parts of Nevada County. The service KVMR provides allows for equal access to resources and information helping all community members navigate safely through an emergency.
KVMR engaged the community in the process by conducting surveys to determine how emergency information can be communicated most effectively. Listeners generate many of the questions posed to county officials during interviews. This fosters clear communication between the community and the county agencies serving it.
KVMR has had to find more reliable ways to maintain temperature controls at transmitter sites, access sites to repair equipment during storms or fires and secure electricians and suppliers who must travel from miles away during emergencies to make repairs. Increased fire insurance rates and additional staffing during emergencies have added 30k to KVMR’s annual operating expenses.
During quiet times, KVMR assembled remote broadcasting kits, put evacuation plans in place and fleshed out a plan to better mobilize volunteers.
We believe there will be a greater need for rural stations to serve their listeners in this way as climate change continues to impact our communities. KVMR hopes to create a multi-media guide that can be used by other stations that will include filmed trainings, a template for an emergency procedure handbook and information about how to include your listeners in the process of developing your emergency coverage.
Public media plays an important role in Emergency Services. Locally managed and operated, community stations can more easily collaborate with local governments, local media, first responders, schools, businesses and community members to provide real time support in an emergency.
During emergencies, loss of power and communications towers limits access to relevant and potentially life-saving information. FM radio reaches people who don’t have internet connectivity or electricity, including those who are houseless or live “off-grid.”
Emergency broadcasting capabilities also provide a feedback loop for those in charge of managing emergencies, offering information on which constituencies are receiving information and how they are responding. By partnering with first responders and the appropriate agencies, KVMR highlights the activities taking place to address the emergency, increasing communication and situational awareness to everyone who tunes in, including police and fire departments.
Local broadcasters are naturally more responsive to their community’s needs and challenges during an emergency. Training and certifying a team of more than 200 volunteers to provide accurate information during emergencies has brought more trust and credibility to KVMR’s news service overall.