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Editor's weekly: St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon in the news

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 16, 2013 - St. Louisans have known since last October that St. Louis Public Radio and the St. Louis Beacon are exploring a merger. Now, it's nice to see the idea get national attention.

Jan Schaffer, a leader in journalistic innovation and executive director of J-Lab, reported on our efforts recently as part of a larger look at ways public broadcasters are expanding their local news coverage.

"Just as St. Louis is a city that is trying to re-invent itself, so are its media outlets," the article notes. It explains that St. Louis could become a national model for reinvigorating local news coverage.

The merged organization aims to build on the foundation of quality and ethics that both existing organizations share. It will have greater breadth, depth and reach than either organization can achieve separately. And it will make better use of all means available to connect with St. Louisans -- on air, on line, through social media, by email and in person.

The idea of a full merger grew out of careful consideration of the opportunities and challenges facing both organizations. Plans call for the new organization to operate under the auspices of the University of Missouri system, which owns the license for the public radio station. The plans stipulate that the university would incur no additional financial obligation. Donors have already pledged $2.5 million to support the innovation.

As the article notes, the merger plan is currently making its way through the university system, where officials have expressed interest in developing a related academic program. Work on that prospect is underway. We'll keep you posted on our progress.

Update:

And here's the latest look at the merger from the Post-Dispatch.

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