WXXI Selected to Lead Major Journalism Initiative in Upstate NY

Thu, 03/25/2010 - 10:00am - 12:00pm

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting made the announcement this morning at a special meeting in Washington, DC.

WXXI Public Broadcasting today was selected to lead a major journalism initiative in the Upstate New York region. The initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), will support the operation of a Local Journalism Center, which will provide in-depth news reports on innovative technology and its role in rebuilding Upstate New York’s economy.


WXXI, along with WNED (Buffalo), WRVO (Oswego/Syracuse), WSKG (Binghamton) and WMHT (Albany) will partner to create Upstate New York’s Local Journalism Center. Together they will hire a total of five additional reporters, one at each station.  In addition, the grant will fund an editor and a managing facilitator at WXXI to coordinate feature reports and news spots, as well as an interactive web portal.

“We are extremely pleased that WXXI and our neighboring public broadcasting stations were selected to participate in this CPB initiative,” said WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “Our news center will allow us to pool resources with our partners to provide more extensive multi-media news to the communities we serve about innovative technology and efforts to rebuild the Upstate economy.”

The Upstate Local Journalism Center will focus on “The Innovation Trail.”  The Center’s extensive multi-media reporting will help the public gain a better understanding of the impact of investment in research and technology projects across the region, the ways that colleges, universities and medical centers are working to create opportunities in emerging technologies, and other industry efforts to transition from a manufacturing base to a knowledge economy. Working across the region, this initiative will allow reporters to move beyond traditional media to provide in-depth coverage with a high-degree of community engagement and involvement.

CPB announced four other Local Journalism Centers, each focused on a particular issue relevant to communities throughout their region. In the Southwest, a bi-lingual reporting team from seven stations will focus on cultural shifts that are transforming the southwest, including Latino, Native American and border issues.~ In The Plains, six stations across four states will focus on agribusiness, including farming practices, food production and fuel usage, looking both at local and national issues.~ In the upper Midwest, stations in three states will focus on reinventing the industrial heartland and in particular the economy in the upper Midwest.~ And in Central Florida, six stations will focus on creating multi-media content related to healthcare issues in their region.~

“The Local Journalism Centers will enhance public media’s ability to meet the information needs of local communities at a time when access to high quality, original reporting is declining,” Patricia Harrison, the CEO and President of CPB said. “The need for that coverage is even greater today, and we have a responsibility to ensure that journalism can continue to thrive and serve the needs of our democracy. These radio and television stations are locally owned and operated and work in partnership with other community based organizations,” Ms. Harrison explained. “Working together with stations across a region, along with emerging new digital journalism organizations, they can make a significant contribution to news gathering and distribution, which is critical to the information health of these communities.”