Today, NPR announced the creation of a Midwest regional journalism hub that will increase capacity for investigative reporting and local news coverage in underserved areas across Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.
Part of NPR's Collaborative Journalism Network, the Midwest hub will provide deeper coverage in areas like government accountability, criminal justice, the environment, health care and rural economic development. By coordinating efforts, the regional hub will also leverage existing reporting resources to increase capacity for breaking news and election coverage across statewide news teams.
The Midwest hub is made possible through a $3 million grant to NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network by philanthropists Eric and Wendy Schmidt. An additional $1.7 million will go toward an existing regional newsroom in California.
“This generous gift will allow the Midwest and California regional newsrooms to focus on investigative reporting, which is so essential to an informed citizenry and democracy. It’s also the type of journalism that has been eroding at the local level as newspapers scale back,” said Nancy Barnes, NPR’s senior vice president for news and editorial director. “To address this challenge, these newsrooms will hire small teams of investigative journalists who will work with station reporters on public service investigations — stories that expose corruption, reveal health hazards and bring to light other information that the public has a right to know.”
St. Louis Public Radio — along with KCUR in Kansas City, Iowa Public Radio and NET in Nebraska — will bring this four-state news collaboration to life. The new Midwest team will include a three-person investigative unit and two editors, as well as a coordinating producer based at NPR in Washington, D.C.
Their work will appear on St. Louis Public Radio's local broadcast and digital platforms and will be available to 25 public media stations in the four-state region. Select content will also be shared on NPR's newscasts and newsmagazines.
The Midwest hub is NPR’s fourth regional news collaboration, joining regional newsrooms already operating in Texas, California and the Gulf states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Additional funding for the Midwest hub is provided by NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.