Monday, October 18, 2010

New NPR Initiative Turns Local Journalists Into Government Watchdogs

National Public Radio (NPR) announced a new journalism initiative today that aims to encourage comprehensive assessments of governmental impact on local communities.

The initiative, called Impact on Government, recently received a $1.8 million grant from the Open Society Foundations (OSF). OSF is a privately owned foundation that works with local education, public health, and independent media representatives to implement initiatives that seek to advance justice and ensure government accountability.

“This initiative will provide the public not just with information, but with the context they need to hold local governments to a higher level of accountability,” said NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller in a press release today. “Our network provides a perfect vehicle for cross-state, cross-region and national analysis of the most critical issues facing our country."

Eight states will participate in this year-long study that kicks off March 2011. NPR is encouraging member stations to submit applications to join the initiative with the hope that all 50 states will eventually adopt the program.

Ann Beeson, the executive director of U.S. Programs at OSF, said in the release today that “a strong democracy requires a diverse, independent, and highly functioning watchdog press to help people hold the government and private sector accountable. The dramatic decline in news coverage at the state level has left millions of people significantly less informed about what is happening in their own backyards. We are confident that NPR, its member stations and partners can help fill that void with much needed in-depth and analytical reporting for communities of every size in every corner of the country.”

Impact of Government will focus on governmental issues and decisions that have the greatest impact on the public. The initiative aims to incorporate a wide range of public radio stations that will develop focused news coverage critical to their particular region. NPR will work as a home base, providing editorial, technical, and collaborative assistance for associated channels and helping individual stations to develop their own unique approach.

No comments:

Post a Comment