Fortified with a $715,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, seven public radio and television stations in downstate Illinois announced formation of a regional news collaboration Monday.
With “Illinois Newsroom” as its working title, the partnership will employ eight journalists who will focus on three key topics — political issues, education, and health and environment. Stories they produce will air on partner stations and contribute to national programs such as “PBS NewsHour” and NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
Leading the initiative is Illinois Public Media, the not-for-profit public media service of the College of Media at the University of Illinois, and licensee of WILL in Urbana. Other participants include WTVP in Peoria, WUIS in Springfield, WSIU in Carbondale, Tri-States Public Radio in Macomb, WVIK in Rock Island, and WEIU in Charleston.
“This downstate regional journalism collaboration will serve as the source for stories, programs and news that reflect our sense of place as well as contribute to the growing number of local programs airing on national platforms,” Moss Bresnahan, president of WILL and WTVP, said in a statement. “I believe we will generate multiplatform content that will be relevant to audiences across the country and will be heard by them, too. We want to be Illinois’ recognized leader in telling the stories that matter.”
The partnership also will work with the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting in Champaign-Urbana and with Brant Houston, Knight Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois.
In announcing the grant Monday, Bruce Theriault, senior vice president of journalism and radio for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, said: “CPB is pleased to support this historic journalism partnership among Illinois public media stations. Collaboration is a multiplier and a game-changer. By working together, these stations can ensure that important stories from across Illinois are told locally, regionally — and nationally.”