When Vivian Schiller took the job as CEO of NPR, she told paidContent she thought NPR was uniquely positioned in hyperlocal: “Big news organizations spend hours wondering how do I create the hyperlocal presence, you donâ€™t have the infrastructure. NPR can do it. It already has the trust and the infrastructure in every town and campus in America. I want to find a way to create indispensable local media hubs.â€
That effort got a big boost today with $3 million of funding for a two-year pilot program that would provide about a dozen NPR affiliates with much of the financial and technological resources to do more original, in-depth reporting on topics central to their communities. Participating stations also will have to commit to covering part of the cost and sustaining the program after their grants end. The stations that will be part of the pilot haven’t been selected yet.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting put in $2 million with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation providing the rest. Each station will pick a topic most relevant to that city and hone in. But they’ll also collaborate with each other. Participating stations will have access to the PBS embeddable video player from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, with content from PBS news shows and a dozen PBS stations. The News Hour will feature some of the reporting on its web site.