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The Collaborative Journalism Network Strengthening Public Radio’s Local And Regional Journalism

As daily newspapers disappear, thousands of communities have lost access to timely, trustworthy local news. These “news deserts” are starved for reporting that connects residents, holds the powerful to account and provides a forum for the discussion of local issues. Through the Collaborative Journalism Network, NPR and Member stations seek to address this growing crisis. 45 percent of newspaper reporting jobs were eliminated between 2008 and 2017

Why Public Radio? NPR and Member stations are uniquely positioned to fill the gaps being left as newspapers collapse.

Unparalleled Reach 98.5 percent of the country lives within range of an NPR station. Together, NPR and Member stations have more than 2,200 reporters across the country and around the world.


Nearly 1 in 5 newspapers have folded since 2004 SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA

A lack of local media coverage is associated with low voter turnout, local politicians who are less engaged, and increased government cost SOURCE: COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW

Most Trusted In national polls, Americans consistently rank NPR one of the country’s most trusted news sources.

Independent In an era of corporate owned media, public radio remains independent and rooted in communities nationwide.

The fate of communities across the country— and of grassroots democracy itself—is linked to the vitality of local journalism.” Penelope Abernathy Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media, UNC

Reliable More and more people are turning to public radio. On air and online over 100 million people rely upon NPR each month.

The Collaborative Journalism Network Access to quality information is a foundation of our democracy. NPR and Member stations are working together to ensure that all communities have access to the news that they need to thrive. Through the Collaborative Journalism Network, NPR and stations will connect public radio’s 200+ newsrooms, making it easier for our journalists to tell more local and regional stories. Together, we will move faster, dig deeper and provide more of the critical news and information disappearing from local communities.


within geographic regions, enabling stations to share information, plan stories, coordinate reporting and cover breaking news more efficiently.

Boost ambitious local journalism, including investigative

reporting and topic-based “beat” reporting–the type of journalism that is disappearing as daily newspapers close.

Provide tools, training and editorial support to Member stations, enabling them to strengthen

Create a consistent level of news coverage to communities coast-to-coast.

Enrich national programming with diverse voices and perspectives from

Introduce public radio to new audiences and provide citizens with

the public service they provide to local communities.

communities across America.

Presently, the scope and breadth of public radio’s local reporting varies based on the resources and size of each station.

information they may not otherwise be able to access.

WHAT IT WILL TAKE Expertise, including journalists with

Resources that support collaboration.

Technology, including communications

Training to ensure that our linked

specialized skills, such as investigative journalists, data reporters and others who can support ambitious reporting throughout the public radio network.

systems, production equipment and other tools that allow stations to share content with NPR and each other.

For instance, additional editors who will coordinate between stations, give assignments, sharpen reporting and shape the bigger picture of our storytelling.

newsrooms are strong, collaborative units with a shared reporting standard.

2019 And Beyond In 2019, NPR will launch its first set of linked newsrooms in Texas. This journalism “hub” will enable Texas stations to work together to bring the best local and regional news to audiences across the state. Soon after, NPR will launch additional hubs in California and the central Gulf States. These pilot hubs will be models as we take the concept nationwide. The Collaborative Journalism Network will transform the way NPR and Member stations serve the public. As we work to build the future of the public radio system, we are seeking support of philanthropists and national foundations willing to invest the critical resources needed to achieve this ambitious network-wide reorganization. While sources for quality local news continue to vanish, together we will leverage public radio’s unique, on-the-ground reach to keep communities everywhere informed.

NPR Member Stations


Allison Shelley/NPR, Bria Granville/NPR, Allison Shelley/NPR, Hugo Rojo/NPR

A shortage of reporting manifests itself in invisible ways: stories not written, scandals not exposed, government waste not discovered, health dangers not identified in time.” The findings of a 2011 FCC report on the information needs of communities.

Profile for NPR Donor Communications

NPR Collaborative Journalism Network  

NPR Collaborative Journalism Network