Editor's Weekly: More Investigative Reporting, New Website Design Coming

Feb 12, 2015

News organizations should focus outward on what’s happening in our communities and how we can serve them better. But our ability to focus outward is affected by many internal factors. Two developments this week, will in different ways, shape how St. Louis Public Radio serves you.

First, we’re thrilled to share the news of a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation to beef up our investigative reporting. The award of $75,000 is among $1.24 million in grants the foundation announced to 18 news organizations nationwide.

The foundation, based in Oklahoma, was started by pioneering journalist Edith Kinney Gaylord. In recent years, it has been a mainstay of support for investigative reporting and for development of a new generation of nonprofit news organizations. Said Bob Ross, president and CEO of Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation: “We continue to work toward identifying successful nonprofit investigative journalism models that enable local journalism to thrive.”

We’ll use our grant in part to explore issues related to the unrest in Ferguson. Investigative reporting will be one aspect of a larger Ferguson-related project called We Live Here that will launch soon and will last a year or more.

The photo shows a mural that was painted on plywood that had covered a window at the post office on South Grand in November.
Credit Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

The aim is to bridge racial chasms of experience and perception in our region. We want to build shared understanding of what’s at stake, why it matters and what might be done. We hope this journey of discovery will draw in many disparate people, including those who don’t often talk to each other or who haven't felt comfortable talking about sensitive racial topics. We want to enable St. Louisans to make up their own minds about our region’s problems and possible solutions.

You’ll see our second piece of news next week. It’s a new design for our website. The appearance will be cleaner and simpler than our current site, no matter what size device you’re using. And it will be responsive, meaning it will look different depending on screen size. A laptop will show up to three stories across from left to right. A phone will show the same stories stacked, allowing you to see each one at a readable size as you scroll from top to bottom.

Web developers at NPR’s Digital Services division created this design, and stations across the country have been shifting into it. We know what counts most is the substance of what’s reported rather than the appearance. But good design is important to convey that substance. We hope you’ll like this one.