CPB backs five local media start-ups, prototyping of a pubmedia platform

CPB is about to announce funding for five new media start-ups to be operated by public broadcasting stations and for an NPR-led project to begin planning a shared web platform for public media’s digital content.

The projects, to be unveiled at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. this morning, aim to build pubcasting’s newsgathering capacity and create a more efficient and flexible technical system for distributing content.

Twenty-seven different pubcasting stations will collaborate in creating the five local journalism centers; CPB is seeking proposals to establish two additional LJCs in coming months. At each center, multimedia teams of journalists will produce reporting on topics of particular interest to that region. The LJC for the Plains States will report on agribusiness and farming practices, for example; in Upstate New York, the LJC will report on economic development efforts focussed on innovative technology.

“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,” said CPB President Patricia Harrison. Over two years, CPB and participating stations will invest $10.5 million in building the centers, with the expectation that each will become self-supporting when grant funding ends.

The largest LJC will be located in the Southwest, where 7 stations will collaborate in building a bilingual reporting team to report on cultural shifts in the region, including Latino, Native American and border issues. In the Upper Midwest, an LJC built by three stations will report on economic redevelopment of the industrial heartland. Central Florida’s LJC is a collaboration among six stations to produce reporting on health care issues. CPB is accepting LJC proposals from stations in the South and Northwest. The deadline for the next batch of proposals is April 14.

The Public Media Platform project to be managed by NPR will develop a prototype for a common technical system to be used by all of pubcasting’s major program distributors and other producers in distributing web content. “The ultimate goal is to collect, distribute, present and monetize digital media content efficiently, allowing producers to devote their resources to reporting, content production, and community engagement,” according to CPB.

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