CPB Awards Grant to WXXI, WSKG, WRVO, WMHT, and WBFO for the Creation of a Single Multi-Media Newsroom

Jun 17, 2014

Washington, DC and Rochester, New York (June 17, 2014) – The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) today announced that it is awarding WXXI, along with principal partner stations WSKG Binghamton, WRVO Oswego/Syracuse, and WMHT Schenectady/Albany and associate partner station WBFO Buffalo, a two-year, $375,000 grant that will allow the five stations to create a single multi-media regional newsroom, which will be known as Upstate Insight.

When complete, Upstate Insight will be an innovative model for covering news across a large geographic area. Through increased collaboration on enterprise reporting, an emphasis on multi-reporter stories and coordinated deployment of reporters around significant stories, Upstate Insight will be able to provide more comprehensive coverage to their communities. The five stations will develop news data capability and adopt content sharing and communications systems to support connectivity between organizations.

CPB’s Senior Vice President, Radio, Bruce Theriault said, “The evolving media environment has opened doors to a host of collaborative opportunities across public media. We’re now seeing stations develop greater journalism capacity through partnerships, resource sharing and multi-platform production. Upstate Insight will follow this model and will provide the high-quality news and information needed by their communities.”

“Upstate Insight is a new and innovative model for covering regional news,” explains WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “It is part of an on-going effort in public media to improve newsrooms, encourage sustainability, and support the production of stories that inform and engage our communities.”

Upstate Insight will incorporate stories from the Innovation Trail Local Journalism Center as well as resources in the Southern Tier, Central and Western New York and the Capitol District, including the Capitol Bureau in Albany, NY. An executive editor will coordinate – in collaboration with reporters and news directors at each station– the production of news stories that focus on issues relevant to Upstate New Yorkers, including education, health, energy and the environment.

“Many news organizations are pursuing collaborative partnerships and strategies in response to the contraction of resources for journalism,” explains WXXI’s Matthew Leonard, who will serve as the project’s executive editor. “It’s evident that multi-reporter, multi-station coverage of topics produces high-value content, and that’s what this collaboration will help us achieve.”

Upstate Insight is part of a CPB initiative to support multi-station alliances with the goal of increasing public media’s capacity to produce relevant, in-depth, multi-platform stories that inform and engage our communities.

About WXXI

WXXI operates three public television stations and manages the cable channel, City 12 for City of Rochester residents; plus six public radio stations, two HD radio channels; and Reachout Radio, a 24-hour radio reading services for those who are visually impaired. WXXI also has a long-term affiliation with Little Theatre, Rochester’s independent movie house.

AM 1370, WXXI's trusted news and talk radio, includes offerings from NPR as well a local programs like Connections with Evan Dawson, a live weekday call-in show on a broad range of topics. Classical 91.5 has popular local hosts throughout the week, as well as an array of symphonic and opera offerings. WRUR-FM 88.5, WXXY-FM 90.3 (Houghton), WEOS-FM 89.5 (Geneva) and WITH-FM 90.1 (Ithaca) all provided a mixture of news and eclectic music which help strengthen public radio in the Finger Lakes region.

WXXI provides a strong mixture of national programming and original productions across its three services (WXXI-TV, CREATE, and WORLD), plus safe, non-commercial children's shows throughout the day along with a varied PBS schedule rich in history, science, nature and arts and culture. WXXI-TV productions include: Second Opinion, a national health care series, Homework Hotline, a statewide program that helps kids with their homework; Need to Know, a weekly news and public affairs program; as well as award-winning documentaries such as 2013's Paley on Park Avenue: New York City and A Walk Through History in Mount Hope Cemetery.

About WSKG

WSKG Public Media provides public television, radio and web-based programming, educational services, and engages with the community through outreach programs across an expansive coverage area. WSKG has a rich history of providing quality television that includes local and national Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) programs, and radio programming that includes award-winning local and National Public Radio (NPR) news and information, education and entertainment programming. WSKG reaches over 500,000 households and more than 1 million people across 21 counties in the Southern Tier of New York and Northeastern Pennsylvania. The mission of WSKG is to inspire with the highest quality educational programming, explore the arts, culture and heritage of the region and beyond, engage in thoughtful consideration of news and issues of importance, and entertain with the very best in multimedia programming. WSKG strives to be a trusted partner enriching the lives of the children, families and communities they serve. Diversity, creativity, integrity, courage, transparency, accountability, open-mindedness and responsiveness are the values at the heart of the station's work. WSKG is dedicated to working with community partners to develop content and services designed to meet current community needs and interests. WSKG believes strongly in delivering relevant content that encourages thoughtful and respectful dialogue across and within the communities served.

About WRVO

WRVO Public Media is a non-profit public radio service licensed to SUNY and based at the State University of New York College at Oswego. Its multi-station network serves more than 15 counties of central and northern New York from transmitters in Clayton, Oswego, Syracuse, Utica, and Watertown. Low-power translators serve Geneva, Hamilton, Ithaca, Norwich, and North Watertown.

In addition to regional news and public affairs, WRVO programming features news and analysis from NPR, American Public Media (APM), Public Radio International (PRI), BBC, Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), Deutsche Welle, and other networks. In 2011, 2012 and 2014 the New York State Associated Press awarded WRVO its highest honor, the Steve Flanders Award, for earning the most first-place news awards in competition with radio stations throughout New York State. WRVO is consistently recognized for outstanding news coverage by the Associated Press and the Syracuse Press Club. For more information, call (315) 312-3690 or visit WRVO.org.

About WMHT

A trusted community resource for over half a century, WMHT Educational Telecommunications uses the power of non-commercial public television, radio, the web and other media to enrich the lives of more than a half million households throughout eastern New York state and portions of western Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Television broadcast channels include WMHT-DT (17.1), WMHT-Create (17.2) and WMHT-World (17.3). Radio stations operated by WMHT include WMHT-FM 89.1 & WRHV-FM 88.7 (classical public radio) and WEXT 97.7 (AAA public radio). WMHT also operates RISE, a radio reading service for the visually and print disabled. In addition, WMHT offers numerous community outreach and family learning initiatives that inspire, educate and entertain for a lifetime.

About WBFO

Through WNED-TV, ThinkBright and Well/WORLD TV, Classical 94.5 WNED and WBFO-FM 88.7, member-supported WNED ǀ WBFO Buffalo-Toronto provides high quality programming and services to local, regional and national audiences that enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate Western New York and Southern Ontario communities. Additional information about WNED ǀ WBFO can be found at wned.org.

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

Categories: Grant, Journalism