Feds Give Noncoms News Budget Boost

CPB says collaborations are force multiplier

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which allocated government funding of public media, says it is giving $3.3 million to five regional journalistic "collaborations" to promote efficient local newsgathering.

President Donald Trump had proposed defunding CPB, but both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have come to noncoms' aid, approving full funding in appropriations bills working their way through both Houses of Congress.

The $3.3 million, divvied up into two-year grants, will boost the fiscal fortunes of 23 TV and radio stations, helping them better coordinate their news services, including helping them produce more local and regional news on more platforms.

Related: Senate Appropriations Approves Level Funding for CPB

“Collaboration is a force multiplier; together stations can do more and innovate faster to provide the local journalism that is part of the bedrock of public media’s valued service to our country," said CPB senior VP journalism and radio Kathy Merritt. She said previous CPB investments in noncom collaborations paid off in the Texas Station Collaborative, which she said was better prepared to cover Hurricane Harvey.

CPB said the grants will create 33 newsroom jobs, including five editors. Those news collaborations, in turn, are expected to fuel more content for NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Marketplace and PBS NewsHour.

CPB pointed to the need for more local broadcast news reporting given the decline in newspaper jobs, as well as noncom stations' vital role as the backbone of the Emergency Alert System.