KUT 90.5 to Pilot NPR Local-National Journalism Initiative “StateImpact Texas: Power, Policy and the Planet”
AUSTIN and HOUSTON, Texas—July 11, 2011—KUT 90.5 in Austin and KUHF 88.7 in Houston are collaborating with NPR to pilot “StateImpact Texas: Power, Policy and the Planet,” an ambitious local-national journalism initiative to report on state government actions and their impact on citizens and communities. KUT is one of eight state-based projects selected to pilot with NPR on the StateImpact launch.
KUT is sharing reporting and resources with KUHF in order to produce sustained, comprehensive reporting on the impact of state government on energy and environmental policy in Texas. The two newsrooms will create a multimedia reporting team—KUT will hire two journalists and KUHF will hire one—to develop an extensive website offering original reporting, curated content and a place for conversation. Reports also will be published via traditional broadcasts, blogs and mobile services. The website will launch in September and will be linked to a central hub at stateimpact.npr.org.
As lead station on the pilot project, KUT has received unprecedented support for this project from public radio stations throughout the state, including High Plains Public Radio, in the Texas panhandle; KERA, Dallas; KEDT, Corpus Christi; KNCH, San Angelo; KOHM, Lubbock; KRTS, Marfa; KSTX, San Antonio; and KWBU, Waco; and collaboration agreements with “Texas Monthly” and KUT’s online political reporting partner “The Texas Tribune.” Thanks to agreements with these media organizations, the reports will reach citizens in nearly every corner of the state.
In addition to Texas, other pilots are occurring in Florida, Idaho, Indiana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. KUT, KUHF and the other partners are participating in a two-year pilot phase. NPR will invite applications from additional stations and states to join the project this fall with the goal of eventually providing editorial resources and reporters in all 50 states.
The StateImpact network builds upon the best of local and state reporting at NPR member stations across the nation by focusing on how governmental decisions affect citizens in such areas as education, healthcare, and business, the environment and jobs. StateImpact will ultimately add more than 100 journalists to serve public radio’s growing audience of 34 million listeners, and tens of millions more online and on mobile.
“Texas is one of the largest carbon emitters in the world, and is also a leader in the green energy revolution,” said Stewart Vanderwilt, director and general manager of KUT Austin. “The scale of the state’s energy production—both traditional and green—is enormous; consequently, there is no better place to lead the conversation on this vitally important topic.”
Examples of topics that could be covered by “StateImpact Texas: Power, Policy and the Planet”:
- The competition to lure green energy companies and the jobs that go with them
- The ongoing conflict between Texas and the EPA regarding air quality rules
- Texas research in algae and other bio-fuels
- Expanding to a national level the Texas model of government working with private industry to set policy
- Green energy industries setting up shop in Texas thanks to an existing infrastructure of professionals who already understand the energy industry and government regulations
KUT’s lead role on this project is made possible by a grant from the William and Salomé Scanlan Foundation of Austin and San Antonio. Several other foundations, corporations and individual donors have made philanthropic contributions to NPR and partner stations in support of StateImpact: including the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Florida College Access Network, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Melville Charitable Trust, the Open Society Foundations, the School of Business at Southern New Hampshire University and The Wallace Foundation. These grants fund the planning and launch phases, and have made it possible for NPR to staff an eight-member StateImpact desk to run the project. KUT and KUHF are actively working with NPR to seek additional funding for the overall initiative, and local and regional matching funds.
NPR serves as a central editorial and technical resource, enabling KUT and stations in every state to work collaboratively with one another to develop stories and share content on common issues, and identify national trends. The StateImpact desk is led by deputy director Cathy DuChamp, former editor of the Northwest News Network based in Seattle, Wa.; editorial coordinators are Ken Rudin, longtime NPR Washington editor, and Elise Hu, who joined NPR recently from the “Texas Tribune.”
StateImpact is the latest NPR initiative to build the reporting capacity of public radio across all platforms at both the national and local level. Earlier contributions by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) jointly funded the first phase of the Argo network. Knight previously funded intensive multiplatform training at NPR, and CPB is supporting the planning phase of the Public Media Platform, a digital distribution network to serve all public media via a common infrastructure. Each of these projects sets the stage for the ambitious and broad scope of StateImpact.
About KUT Radio
For more than 50 years, KUT 90.5, listener-supported public radio from Austin, Texas, has striven to be the most trusted radio source for news and music in Central Texas. A founding member of NPR, KUT established a news department in 2002. Since then, KUT News has won more than 50 state, national and international awards for journalistic excellence. KUT is nationally known for playing a unique blend of handpicked, homegrown and uniquely Austin music. Its signature music journalism unit, Texas Music Matters, uses the highest standards of public radio journalism to report on Texas music. The station relies on individuals and local businesses for more than 85 percent of its operating budget with 100 percent of those contributions going directly to programming and broadcasting expenses. For more information, go to www.kut.org.
List of Pilot StateImpact Stations:
StateImpact Florida: Putting Education Reform to the Test
WUSF, Tampa (project lead)
StateImpact Idaho: Bringing the Economy Home
Boise State Public Radio, Boise (project lead)
Idaho Public TV
Northwest News Network
StateImpact Indiana: The Education Shift, from Pre-K to College
WFIU, Bloomington (project lead)
WBAA, West Lafayette
WBNI, Roanoke, Ft. Wayne
StateImpact Ohio: Eye On Education
ideastream, Cleveland (project lead)
StateImpact Oklahoma: On the Money Trail
KGOU, Norman (project lead)
KOSU, Oklahoma City
Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA), Oklahoma City
StateImpact New Hampshire: Business and the Economy in the Granite State
New Hampshire Public Radio, Concord
StateImpact Pennsylvania: Energy, Environment, Economy
WITF, Harrisburg (project lead)
WPSU, State College
WDIY, Lehigh Valley
StateImpact Texas: Power, Policy and the Planet
KUT, Austin (project lead)