BOSTON – Oct. 2, 2020 — FRONTLINE, PBS’s flagship investigative documentary series, announced today the selection of the newest class of partners for its Local Journalism Initiative. The initiative, funded with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, aims to strengthen local investigative journalism in communities around the country.
Starting this fall, FRONTLINE will support investigative projects by reporters and producers at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, The Public’s Radio in Rhode Island, The Salt Lake Tribune in Utah; and The Texas Newsroom, which will lead a collaboration involving Texas Tech Public Media in Lubbock, NPR, public radio stations across Texas and other public media newsrooms. FRONTLINE helps pay a journalist’s salary for a year, in addition to providing to the newsroom editorial guidance, advice about digital or video storytelling, and expertise about how to connect audiences with high impact journalism.
The initiative aims to promote sustainable, public interest journalism in communities where local news organizations have been hit hard by financial pressures and the challenges of reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Local news is a life blood for communities across the country and an essential part of a healthy American democracy,” says FRONTLINE Executive Producer, Raney Aronson-Rath. “We’re excited to welcome our second cohort of Local Journalism partners, and eager to support these newsrooms with their enterprise reporting, as the critical local stories they are covering so often reverberate into the national news headlines. With the support of the Knight Foundation and CPB, we look forward to beginning our work with these talented reporting units and to support them in their pursuit for truth.”
In partnership with FRONTLINE, over the next year these newsrooms will explore issues including police reform and violence, forced labor, and collapse of rural health care institutions. Each team will receive support from FRONTLINE to produce a specific investigation related to an issue of importance to their community. The resulting local investigative projects may potentially be brought to a national audience through FRONTLINE’s multi-platform channels.
The initiative also aims to increase diversity representation in newsrooms in underserved communities by working with editorial leadership to think intentionally about their hiring practices, the stories they tell, and how they choose to tell them.
“Now more than ever, we need thoughtful, clear reporting on issues of importance to local communities,” said Sarah Childress, FRONTLINE’s senior editor and director of local projects. “We are delighted to be able to support these four media partners, and their talented, diverse reporting teams, in doing this vital investigative work.”
The Local Journalism Initiative is based in FRONTLINE’s newsroom at GBH in Boston, with support from Knight Foundation and CPB. Knight’s funding is part of a $300 million commitment to build the future of local news and information that was announced in 2019. This initiative began last fall with the selection of FRONTLINE’s inaugural Local Journalism Partners: Tampa Bay Times, Oklahoma Watch, Rocky Mountain PBS, New Mexico PBS (KNME-TV) and Milwaukee PBS.
“Every day, local reporters are on the ground ensuring communities have critical information about the most pressing issues they’re facing,” said LaSharah S. Bunting, Knight Foundation director for journalism. “FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative will ensure these reporting teams can take a deep look at the important topics that have surfaced this year, and help build stories that serve everyone in their communities.”
“CPB is proud to support FRONTLINE’s initiatives that strengthen community journalism,” said Joy Lin, vice president of journalism at CPB. “During these uncertain times, public media’s trusted, high quality journalism plays a vital role in protecting our democracy and fostering a civil society.”
FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 97 Emmy Awards and 24 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit cpb.org, follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn and subscribe for other updates.
GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. GBH produces digital and broadcast programming that engages, illuminates and inspires, through drama and science, history, arts, culture and journalism. It is the creator of such signature programs as MASTERPIECE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, NOVA, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, Arthur and Molly of Denali, as well as WORLD Channel and a catalog of streaming series, podcasts and on-demand video. With studios and a newsroom headquartered in Boston, GBH reaches across New England with GBH 89.7, Boston’s Local NPR®; CRB Classical 99.5; and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® station. Dedicated to making media accessible to and inclusive of our diverse culture, GBH is a pioneer in delivering media to those who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired. GBH creates curriculum-based digital content for educators nationwide with PBS LearningMedia and has been recognized with hundreds of the nation’s premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards. Find more information at wgbh.org.
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