KQED’s Quest expands with $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant

By Dru Sefton

KQED in San Francisco has received $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a two-year collaborative national multimedia science reporting initiative, Quest Beyond Local, with five public broadcasting partners, building on the popularity of Quest, its Emmy award-winning science and environment series that grew into science-reporting hub for several stations last year.

A KCTS crew and retired professor Val Veirs spotting Orcas at Lime Kiln State Park, San Juan Islands, for a "Science on the Spot" episode for Quest. (Photo: Ethan Morris)

A KCTS crew and retired professor Val Veirs spotting Orcas at Lime Kiln State Park, San Juan Islands, for a “Science on the Spot” episode of Quest. (Photo: Ethan Morris)

Quest Beyond Local partners will create content on the theme of “Science of Sustainability” on television, radio and online, with educational assets and community outreach. Work will commence in January, with new content ready for broadcast in fall 2013.

Participating are NET, Lincoln, Neb.; UNC-TV, Research Triangle Park, N.C.; KCTS, Seattle; WVIZ ideastream, Cleveland; and, in Wisconsin, Educational Communications Board (ECB), Instructional Communications Systems (ICS), Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television.

Quest began more than six years ago as an experiment in multimedia science journalism and education designed to deliver content and foster engagement using a range of media from television to smart phones,” said John Boland, KQED president, in today’s announcement. “It has been both a great success and a great learning experience, and we are grateful to the National Science Foundation for making it possible for KQED to share what we’ve learned with public broadcasters across the country for the benefit of their communities.”

Quest Beyond Local will hire an executive producer, a managing editor and a coordinating producer to lead the multistation project.

The grant builds on previous NSF funding and nearly $1 million from CPB awarded in April 2011 to Quest. With that funding, KQED has worked with its partner stations to train producers on its multimedia science reporting model.

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