Published on Thursday, 25 March 2010 10:40
Various public radio and TV stations across the country, including one here in Chicago, will be receiving approximately $10.5 million over the next two years as part of a bold new endeavor that seeks to stop the decline in local journalism and original reporting.
This morning, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced it is creating Local Journalism Centers in seven regions, with five beginning right away, in what it is calling a "major journalism initiative." The Local Journalism Centers will be made up of 37 local NPR & PBS stations nationwide. Out of over 100 stations that applied for this role, the stations that were selected were because of a well done business plan that included an outline for becoming self-sustaining within two years.
The CPB is providing $7.5 million of the investment for the ambitious project, while the stations involved contribute a combined $3 million.
The funding initially targets 5 regions: the Upper Midwest, the Southwest, the Plains states, upstate New York and central Florida. The next two areas being targeted for LJCs are the South and Northwest. Jointly, between the initial five regions, about 50 journalism jobs will be created.
The Upper Midwest Local Journalism Center will consist of Chicago Public Radio's WBEZ, Michigan Radio and Cleveland's PBS, Ideastream. This Midwest joint venture will create five new jobs, as it will now hire three reporters, a Senior Editor and a Senior Producer. The main focus of this LJC will be on reinventing the industrial heartland and in particular the economy in the upper Midwest. These stations will be creating multi-media content on the region's changing economy and report out via radio, television, digital and community programs.
Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting said, "The Local Journalism Centers will enhance public media's ability to meet the information needs of local communities at a time when access to high quality, original reporting is declining. Public media has long provided independent and in-depth coverage of local issues and public policy. The need for that coverage is even greater today, and we have a responsibility to ensure that journalism can continue to thrive and serve the needs of our democracy."
"Working together with stations across a region, along with emerging new digital journalism organizations, they can make a significant contribution to news gathering and distribution, which is critical to the information health of these communities," Ms. Harrison explained.
Paula A. Kerger, President and CEO of PBS added, "In a time when newspapers and other media organizations are cutting back or disappearing altogether, public media is strengthening its commitment to journalism. We're putting our innovative spirit and strong local and national infrastructure to work for the American people in new ways -- filling gaps in news coverage and using new platforms to ensure everyone has access to the most trusted source for in-depth reporting, analysis and investigative journalism. PBS is proud to collaborate with CPB, NPR, our member stations and emerging digital journalism organizations across the country to transform community engagement and information."
Experienced journalists who have left or been pushed out by the dying newspaper organizations are expected to make up much of the pool of applicants for the LJCs.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a private, non-profit corporation that was created by Congress in 1967. In total, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has invested $90 million in new journalism initiatives over the past two years.