The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is accepting proposals to increase and deepen public media’s news and public affairs coverage of state government and policies and their impact on state residents. This is a second call for state government coverage proposals, following an initial round of $2.25 million in grants that was announced in September 2023.
Already, public media stations in all 50 states provide original state government reporting at least weekly when their legislatures are in session, and stations in 31 states have increased this coverage to fill the void left by the decline of local newspapers, according to a CPB-commissioned survey published in June 2022. The survey also found that public media stations in 18 states provide the only state government-focused public affairs broadcast program in their state. In a dozen states, public media stations provide a dedicated channel for live, gavel-to-gavel coverage of state legislative proceedings. The Survey, involving 175 public radio and television stations, was a first step in CPB’s broader strategy to address urgent civic information needs given the increasing influence of misinformation and disinformation in civil discourse. The Survey identified opportunities to grow State Government Coverage, including increased beat reporting, accountability journalism, digital innovation, and public affairs formats that reach new audiences.
Applications for this Request for Proposals will be accepted from public media stations and Station collaborations that seek to build state government coverage capacity and reach. The goals of the RFP are to:
1. Increase the number of journalists spending 75% or more of their time producing State Government Coverage, with priority given to states where there currently is no Dedicated State Government Journalist;
2. Increase the number of statewide collaborations among public media stations to produce State Government Coverage;
3. Increase the number of stations providing State Government Coverage throughout the year, not just when state legislatures are in session;
4. Strengthen State Government Coverage through investigative reporting;
5. Produce innovative State Government Coverage that reaches and serves digital audiences, which could include enhanced video/visuals coverage;
6. Ensure wider distribution of State Government Coverage through sharing of content with public media stations (and other media organizations) across each state.
Applicants for the RFP must address at least one of the first five Goals (listed above) in their proposals. Further, to address Goal 6, all applicants must also provide a statewide distribution plan for the content to be created using CPB grant funds.