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American Journalism Project
Public Educational Media
Date Approved

This is an existential moment for the local news industry, as the pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn have led to untold layoffs and accelerated already-steep revenue losses for the local news industry. The American Journalism Project envisions a public service media that is governed by, sustained by, and looks like the public it serves. We are reigniting the spark behind local news – a public good and fundamental democratic institution. We are committed to building and growing a dynamic local civic news ecosystem, focused on meeting the information needs of communities across the country. Public radio is a well-established pillar of the local news ecosystem, but faces challenges across digital competencies as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in its staffing and audience demographics. With commuter drive times down during COVID-19, public radio faces another challenge in its reliance on broadcast audience-based revenue streams. There is even greater concern about the economic crisis ahead for public radio. This is a critical time to find new innovations in public radio. We seek to pilot a program to explore bringing our course-altering grants, sustained operating support, and strategic guidance to innovative local public radio stations.