The grant will support the creation of two regional newsrooms, a Midwest hub connecting member stations in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska and a second hub in California. The newsrooms will enable public radio stations to coordinate and expand their local and regional reporting, provide content to national news programs and digital platforms, and assist investigative units in providing deeper coverage of topics such as government accountability, criminal justice, the environment, health care, and rural economic development.
The newsroom in California will serve all seventeen public radio stations in the state, while the Midwest newsroom will serve sixty-three cities through twenty-five public radio stations. The project has secured additional funding from NPR, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and KQED.
"Now more than ever, we depend on high-quality journalism for timely and critical information," said Wendy Schmidt. "Local news is especially important, and with so many newsrooms in decline, we need to invest in strengthening reporting resources from trusted sources like public radio. These regional news hubs will not only increase local reporting of critical issues, they will also elevate diverse voices and perspectives in regional and national stories."
"This generous gift will allow the Midwest and California regional newsrooms to focus on investigative reporting, which is so essential to an informed citizenry and democracy. It's also the type of journalism that has been eroding at the local level as newspapers scale back," said NPR senior vice president for news and editorial director Nancy Barnes. "To address this challenge, these newsrooms will hire small teams of investigative journalists who will work with station reporters on public service investigations — stories that expose corruption, reveal health hazards, and bring to light other information that the public has a right to know."