Five California Nonprofit Newsrooms Awarded $994,909 CPB Grant to Form News Collaboration


LOS ANGELES (September 26, 2017)  

Four public media stations and one nonprofit newsroom in California, led by Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), will receive a $994,909 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to establish a statewide news collaboration.

The collaboration, known as the California Counts Partnership, began with SCPR in Los Angeles, Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, KQED in San Francisco, and KPBS in San Diego in order to better  cover the 2016 elections.  Now, with funding from CPB and the addition of CALmatters in Sacramento, it will carry out a two-year joint enterprise focused on key quality-of-life and equity issues for the people of California in the coming decade. The CPB grant will support ten journalists at the partner media outlets for two years, including the hiring of three new positions and one Senior Editor, with station support continuing in outlying years.

“Collaboration is a force multiplier; together stations can do more and innovate faster to provide the local journalism that is part of the bedrock of public media’s valued service to our country," said Kathy Merritt, CPB senior vice president, journalism and radio. “We’ve seen the importance of our investments in collaboration when, for example, stations in the Texas Station Collaborative were better prepared to serve their communities throughout the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.”

“This collaboration will benefit our audience in myriad ways,” said Kristen Muller, SCPR’s Chief Content Officer. “Our listeners want to get beyond the headlines and better understand the critical issues facing the state. This partnership will surface those stories and conversations and connect Californians who are invested in the future of the Golden State.”

 “We couldn’t be more pleased to be working with our California Counts station partners again – and adding CALmatters.  I’m glad that we started this collaboration organically and then were able to propose a major, multi-year project to CPB,” said Holly Kernan, KQED Vice President, News, says,

California is in a period of extraordinary demographic, economic, and cultural transition. Its systems, from governmental to educational to social, are under stress.  The collaboration will examine whether the 'California Dream' still exists, and if so, how it can be redefined for the 21st century.  

“The idea of the ‘California Dream’ is really about exploring the soul and the future of the Golden State,” said Kernan. 

The conversation resonates outside the state's borders, as California has the world’s sixth largest economy and a rapidly growing population, projected to reach 50 million in the next three decades.  The problems the state experiences, and the solutions it creates, will reverberate through the nation more resoundingly than ever in the century ahead.

The Senior Editor, based at SCPR, will guide reporting from all five newsrooms in a way that excels journalistically, serves all partners, offers clear direction, and takes advantage of multiple news platforms.  Each media partner will host reporters covering specific beats: SCPR – Economy Reporter and Transportation & Mobility Reporter; Capital Public Radio – Food & Sustainability Reporter and State Government Reporter; KQED – Education Reporter and Immigration Reporter; KPBS – Wealth & Poverty Reporter; and CALmatters – Data Reporter and Health & Social Services Reporter. 

The group will report for partner stations and collaborate with national programs, including PBS NewsHour, Marketplace, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and other public media programs.  The collaboration will provide audio, video, and web reporting. 

For information about the partner stations, visit the links to their websites in the profiles below: 

Southern California Public Radio (KPCC) operates a multiplatform newsroom (radio, online, events) of more than 80 journalists out of headquarters in Pasadena and features news desks dedicated to Arts & Culture, Education, Environment & Science, Health, and Southern California Regional Issues.  The station produces four radio shows, including a daily two-hour interview and call-in current affairs program (AirTalk) and a daily one-hour newsmagazine (Take Two) which also airs on Nevada Public Radio.  SCPR’s digital team runs an award-winning website and custom-designed smartphone and tablet mobile apps.  The KPCC In Person platform produces free and interactive live events, including town halls, panel discussions, and conversations both at its meeting space and at community centers, campuses, museums, theaters, libraries, coffeehouses, and other venues across the region.

Capital Public Radio (CapRadio), with headquarters in Sacramento, has an award-winning news team that includes Health Care, Environment, and Food & Sustainability beats as well as a Capitol Bureau covering state government and Politifact California, a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Pulitzer Prize-winning organization  In addition to its own multiplatform newsroom (radio, online, digital), daily content is distributed through the Capital Public Radio Network (CPRN) to more than 50 public radio stations statewide as well as to stations in Nevada, Oregon, and Washington – reaching three million listeners a week.  CapRadio also produces Insight with Beth Ruyak, a one-hour daily public affairs show, and The View From Here, a nationally distributed, award-winning community engagement documentary series delivering powerful, authentic, and important stories that reflect its region.

KQED operates a multiplatform newsroom (radio, television, online) that includes its San Francisco headquarters, East Bay News Desk (Oakland), Silicon Valley News Desk (San Jose), California Government and Politics Desk (Sacramento), and bureaus in Fresno and Los Angeles that provide content for its statewide news program The California Report, which is carried by more than 40 public radio stations across the state.  KQED produces 21 daily newscasts, 8-10 digital stories on the daily news blog News Fix, a 30-minute weekly television show (KQED Newsroom), a daily two-hour interview and call-in current affairs radio program (Forum), a daily statewide news service (The California Report), and a 30-minute weekly statewide magazine (The California Report Magazine).  Overall, KQED News has more than 50 reporters, producers, and editors contributing to its award-winning news and public affairs service.

KPBS employs a team of 45 journalists to tell stories on radio, television, the web, and social media in one of the most cutting-edge newsrooms in the nation.  Its award-winning team covers the border and immigration, science and technology, the military, health, and education as well as launching impactful investigations.  The station airs the nightly television newscast KPBS Evening Edition that’s fast-paced but more interested in the “why” behind the news than just the “what.”  Producers create the lively radio newsmagazine KPBS Midday Edition daily on radio at noon.  And the station is committed to covering San Diego’s richly diverse neighborhoods, from recently resettled refugees from Somalia, Syria, and Iraq, to long-established Latino, African-American, and Asian communities.  KPBS’ signature Speak City Heights aims to empower a neighborhood considered the third-most diverse in the nation.  The KPBS-founded Fronteras project continues to focus on border issues and results in stories shared with a variety of public stations.  KPBS also produces a popular week-in-review program for TV and radio called the KPBS Roundtable.

CALmatters is a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture launched in 2015 to explain how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.  It shares in-depth coverage of major California issues with print and broadcast media throughout the state.  An engagement editor produces a range of multimedia products for a growing online audience.  The Sacramento-based newsroom has a staff of veteran, prize-winning journalists from the state’s major media with extensive experience covering government and politics in California.  The team also includes a data journalist who is helping develop a comprehensive database about the state’s policymaking process.  CALmatters sponsors a statewide event series, partnering with local media to explore important California policy issues.

About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

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