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CPB Awards Grant to Develop Ohio News Collaborative

COLUMBUS, OHIO, OCTOBER 5, 2020 —ideastream, Cincinnati Public Radio and WOSU Public Media have been awarded a $56,500 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in support of developing and implementing an Ohio news collaborative among the state’s public radio stations. Initially started in July 2019 with a $70,000 grant from The George Gund Foundation, the collaborative will serve as a fully integrated, statewide news and information network to fill the growing gaps in local journalism.

A recent report from Policy Matters Ohio stated, “With more than 100 newspapers shuttered, Ohio has 32% fewer newspapers today than it did in 2004, according to the University of North Carolina School of Media and Journalism. Total circulation in the state fell by 47%, from 5.5 million to 2.9 million. Many newspapers that remain are ghosts of their former selves, struggling to cover local news with reduced staff.”

Research conducted by Edison Research as part of the statewide news collaborative project confirmed an overwhelming interest in a statewide news service and provided insights regarding consumers’ preferences towards news topics and distribution platforms. An editorial vision and a detailed, scalable plan were created utilizing this research and input from NPR member stations with newsrooms, large and small, across Ohio.

In addition, the funding from CPB will be used to develop a business plan and a sustainability model.

“Economic and technological shifts in the media environment have caused the closures of newspapers across the state,” said Richard Eiswerth, general manager of Cincinnati Public Radio. “This collaboration can fill a growing need for trusted journalism, especially in parts of Ohio that have been hit hardest by the shrinking media ecosystem.”

When the collaborative is implemented, it will be Ohio’s only daily statewide radio and digital news service and with approximately 50 news staffers — forming, in effect, Ohio’s largest newsroom.

“With Ohio’s public radio stations all working together, the collaborative will allow us to expand capacity and realize greater scale than any of us could independently,” said WOSU Public Media general manager Tom Rieland. “By doing so, we’ll also fill a growing need in underserved rural areas across Ohio.”

The stations in the collaborative also aspire to develop an innovative journalism incubator — partnering with talented freelance journalists and journalism students for special editorial projects, investigative reporting and strategic community engagement initiatives. The collaborative would provide multimedia distribution platforms, project management, editorial oversight, fundraising capabilities and financial administration to expand the reach and impact of these efforts.

“The mission and model of public media stations put us in a unique position to serve the state’s diverse needs,” said Kevin Martin, President & CEO of ideastream. “I truly believe that this collaboration puts us in the best position to reverse the troubling downward trajectory of news service in Ohio.”

About ideastream
ideastream serves the people of Northeast Ohio as a trusted and dynamic multimedia source for illuminating the world around us. Publicly supported and locally owned, ideastream is indispensable and highly valued for its unique ability to strengthen our community. ideastream is the consolidation of WVIZ/PBS, with five channels of public television service (WVIZ/PBS-HD, WVIZ/PBS OHIO, WVIZ/PBS WORLD, WVIZ/PBS CREATE and WVIZ/PBS KIDS); 90.3 WCPN, Northeast Ohio’s NPR news and public affairs radio station; WCLV 104.9, Northeast Ohio’s classical music radio station; ideastream Education, with educational resources, services and the award-winning children’s series NewsDepth; and management of The Ohio Channel and the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau on behalf of all Ohio’s public broadcasting stations. For more information about ideastream’s rich legacy of innovation and credible content, visit ideastream.org. MEDIA CONTACT ideastream: Calle Andrus, Communications Specialist | 216.916.6434 | calle.andrus@ideastream.org

About Cincinnati Public Radio
Cincinnati Public Radio is the trusted, independent source of journalism, music and culture empowering a vibrant, engaged and informed community. With award-winning news from 91.7 WVXU and inspiring classical music from 90.9 WGUC, plus jazz and independent music on its HD2 digital channels, Cincinnati Public Radio serves the Southwest Ohio region. Visit cincinnatipublicradio.org to access all services and learn more. MEDIA CONTACT Cincinnati Public Radio: Kevin Reynolds, Community Relations Manager | 513.419.7104 | kreynolds@cinradio.org

About WOSU Public Media
The mission of WOSU Public Media is to enrich lives through content and experiences that engage, inform and inspire. An NPR and PBS affiliate, WOSU is a noncommercial multimedia organization serving over two million citizens in Central Ohio through broadcast, digital, programming, events and education experiences. A licensee of The Ohio State University, member-supported WOSU Public Media moves its headquarters and studios to the new 15+HIGH District on campus in 2021. Learn more at wosu.org.

Amy Tillinghast
Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
2400 Olentangy River Road | Columbus, OH 43210
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