KCUR Awarded $500K To Create Kansas Public Media News Collaboration

Sep 15, 2017

Thanks to an infusion of national funding, the Kansas News Service — led by KCUR 89.3 — will expand its reporting network with public media stations across the state.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting this week announced $502,327 in funding for public radio stations serving Kansas to collaborate on local news coverage and improve news-gathering efficiency. The grant is part of $3.3 million awarded nationally for the creation of five regional journalism operations.

KCUR heads the Kansas-based collaboration, which includes KMUW in Wichita; Kansas Public Radio in Lawrence; and High Plains Public Radio in Garden City. The CPB funding will help the stations expand the work of the Topeka-based Kansas News Service. KCUR launched the Kansas News Service earlier this year with the support of the Kansas Health Foundation, the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, Sunflower Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

The goal is to coordinate news coverage and produce more community-based, multiplatform coverage of local and regional issues. Reporting will particularly focus on statehouse politics, health, education, natural resources, rural life and agriculture.

Kansas reporters also will collaborate with national programs, including Marketplace, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered, and other public media programs. The collaboration will provide audio, video and web reporting.

“Collaboration is a force multiplier; together stations can do more and innovate faster to provide the local journalism that is part of the bedrock of public media’s valued service to our country," said Kathy Merritt, CPB senior vice president, journalism and radio in a release. “We’ve seen the importance of our investments in collaboration when, for example, stations in the Texas Station Collaborative were better prepared to serve their communities throughout the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.”

In Kansas, partner stations will be adding reporters or producers. At KCUR, a digital producer and editor; at KMUW, an environmental reporter; and at HPPR, a reporter. Other station positions and resources will be devoted to expanding the statewide collaboration.

"We're incredibly proud of how the Kansas public media stations are working together," said Donna Vestal, KCUR's director of content strategy. "And we have a lot of work to do serving all the communities across the state."