NCPR listeners meet challenge set by Knight in shining armor

Above: Natasha Haverty of North Country Public Radio.

Three years ago, Adirondack Foundation and North Country Public Radio partnered to meet a $300,000 community information challenge from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Donors responded valiantly to the daunting challenge, meeting this year’s deadline. As a result, nearly $700,000 has poured into NCPR’s “21st Century Public Media on a Rural Map” project.  

The project accomplished five major goals:  all NCPR platforms are now part of a single, integrated resource for the people of the Adirondack region; the community plays a bigger role in imagining and shaping what they receive from NCPR; the breadth and depth of regional news and information content have increased; the next generation of public media professionals now has a training and employment path through NCPR; two news bureaus are established, including one in Plattsburgh, led by NCPR-trained-and-mentored young journalist Zach Hirsch. A  Glens Falls bureau to improve coverage in the southern Adirondacks is planned. It just keeps going and growing.

“Adirondack Foundation is part of an increasing number of community foundations working to be sure residents get the information they need to make important  decisions about their communities,” says Trabian Shorters, Knight Foundation’s past vice president. “Ultimately, our democracy will thrive only if we have informed and engaged communities.” 

Cali Brooks sat down with Ellen Rocco recently to discuss the impact of the project. To read the interview, click here

The investment in news and information capacity at NCPR led to other partnerships with Adirondack Foundation, most importantly the Prison Time Media Project. The series, led by Brian Mann and Natasha Haverty, produced more than 40 reports on the drug war and mass incarceration, pieces which were distributed to public radio stations around the US, in regional newspapers and magazines, and became discussion points in blogs and community  gatherings. The series went on to win the Edward R. Murrow Award. Over the course of the year, the project initiated a fact-based, civil dialogue about prison issues in our region, where prisons are a major industry and where many of the moral, ethical, and practical questions of mass incarceration have long gone unaddressed. To read more about the series visit www.prisontime.org.