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The St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio: An Update

It was just about a year ago that the St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio jointly announced their intention to explore forming an alliance to better serve the St. Louis region through journalism.

STL Beacon Logo

Through the past year we have been investigating how, by bringing our two organizations together, we can better serve the St. Louis region. Through this exploration we have come to believe that high quality journalism is an important component in creating a narrative about the challenges and realizations of a region reinventing itself. By providing deep reporting, thoughtful discussion and interesting perspectives on key questions, citizens in the region will gain a better understanding of the important issues happening in our region.

Our two organizations combined will have nearly 40 news and content staff producing audio, text, video, data, and photography across digital and broadcast platforms. Of course this is in addition to programs and content from our public radio partners on-air and on-line.

The discussions of the merger over the past year have also triggered exciting academic and research initiatives in a three-way partnership with the University of Missouri – St. Louis’ College of Fine Arts and Communication, and the University of Missouri – Columbia’s School of Journalism.

Through this partnership utilizing UMSL at Grand Center (the home of St. Louis Public Radio) as a base, UMSL and UMC are cooperatively investing further convergent media opportunities and research in emerging technology and interactive design, where best practices learned from the Reynolds Journalism Institute are being used to develop models for sustaining quality, multi-platform journalism in metropolitan areas.

This vision was presented earlier this month to the Board of Curators of University of Missouri System, the governing authority for St. Louis Public Radio, UMSL, and UMC. The proposal was enthusiastically received by the Curators and we have been given the go ahead to formalize an agreement between the Beacon, the University and St. Louis Public Radio that the curators can consider for approval at their next meeting in November.

As a follow-up to the Curators meeting earlier this month, Board Chair Wayne Goode and University system President Timothy Wolfe sent a letter to stakeholders of our two organizations outlining why the prospect of the merger is so exciting.

The list of partners at both the regional and national levels for this endeavor is amazing. We recognize that the world of media is watching this with keen interest. We are proud of this pioneering effort in the future of media and journalism…

To learn more about this effort, you can read a report from Coats2Coats Consulting from our initial work on the merger that was funded through a grant from The Knight Foundation.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.