In 2011, a group of public radio news editors began exploring how to produce deeper and more meaningful stories to serve both local and national audiences. One member of that group was the head of Colorado Public Radio’s newsroom, Kelley Griffin.
Since then, the group’s thinking has germinated into a nationwide collaborative effort, in which Griffin and the CPR News team play an integral role. Through this effort, NPR and member stations like Colorado Public Radio leverage the collective strength of public media to serve listeners with in-depth reporting that draws connections among local, regional and national events. Working together, they will be able to identify both trends and differences among the issues that affect different parts of the country.
“This work aligns with our commitment to put stories in a bigger context for listeners and help them understand how news happening in Colorado fits into the world,” Griffin said.
Now, NPR and member stations are building reporting teams around two new topic areas: energy/environment and politics. The team participants were announced in August, and three CPR reporters were among those selected to contribute local knowledge, subject area expertise and journalistic insight to these latest collaborative reporting efforts.
Energy and environment reporting
Energy and Environment Reporter Grace Hood is representing CPR News in NPR’s Energy and Environment Collaborative Project, which will examine issues of climate change—a particularly timely topic with the 2015 United Nations Climate Conference scheduled for December. Hood will bring local perspective to national news reporting, telling stories directly from the communities where Coloradans are affected.
“This project is a great opportunity for us to look more deeply at human adaptation to climate change in Colorado,” said Hood, whose journalistic portfolio includes coverage of the 2012 Colorado wildfires and the 2013 Colorado floods.
Hood will join reporters from 11 other stations involved in the project, including KQED in San Francisco, KUT in Austin and Alaska Public Radio.
Politics and election coverage
NPR’s new Political Reporting Partnership will mobilize reporters from 17 member station—which include WHYY, WAMU and WNYC—around providing authoritative political coverage, with an eye on the 2016 election. Throughout the partnership, Colorado Public Radio coverage will come from award-winning reporters Megan Verlee and Ben Markus, both CPR News veterans whose stories frequently receive national exposure.
“It’s so valuable to connect with reporters in other cities who are looking at the same issues but with their own local perspective,” Verlee said. “We might identify distinct differences between our regions or we might discover patterns that exist in both places—either of which can result in really meaningful stories.”
Verlee and Markus will target election stories in Colorado that shed light on the impact of income inequality and the role of the Latino vote.