KUNR Public Radio partners regularly with regional historian Alicia Barber who produces 26 radio features a year (running about 4 minutes each) that focus on the historical roots of our listening area. In her segments, Alicia incorporates sound bites from oral histories collected decades ago, bringing stories from the past to life with the voices of real people who have witnessed history unfold and have been deeply impacted by the evolution of our region.
At this point, Alicia has produced roughly 50 segments on a wide range of topics, including detailed accounts of Reno’s unique gambling and divorce industries, along with historical examples of racism and sexism (that have proven quite relevant today as the #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and other movements grow momentum, and the country faces difficult realities about how minority populations are still treated). We also cover positive stories related to regional and state trendsetters and news makers, and there are human interest pieces as well on lighter topics, like Lake Tahoe’s ski industry and other local recreational activities.
Along with the radio features, KUNR provides digital support so that we can build out Alicia’s segments with multimedia features. Every feature has a web post with an article and historic photos directly related to the topic. Some of the photos are remarkable and bring the audio to life in a critical way for our digital audience. Additionally, we hire digital reporters who are studying at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and they have created audiograms that we share on Facebook and Twitter (incorporating oral history sound bites and historical photos) along with Instagram stories to bring history to younger audiences in bite-sized pieces.
We have also started using tools from the Knight Lab to bring history to life, including Juxtapose, which juxtaposes one historical photo of a motel, say, with another current-day photo of that same motel, which has perhaps been renovated or is now rundown so that viewers can see the evolution of a space over time. We also use the Knight Lab’s timeline tool so that we can provide about a dozen slides that have photos and copy explaining important milestones for a particular story. Building these multimedia assets provides critical training for our college interns, helps us reach new audiences, and shares historical context with a younger generation actively using social media.
We have also recently started partnering with the Washoe County School District, where Reno, Nevada is located, and the school district is recruiting various social studies teachers to create several K-12 lesson plans that incorporate KUNR’s Time & Place segments. This partnership formed after an individual teacher reached out to KUNR to let us know that she had used one of the segments in a lesson plan. After that, we contacted the school district to formalize and expand the arrangement.