American Public Media™ and Minnesota Public Radio® Create the Center for Innovation in Journalism at American Public Media

American Public Media™ and Minnesota Public Radio® Create the Center for Innovation in Journalism at American Public Media

Will Share Innovative Public Insight Journalism® Model with Other Newsrooms

(St. Paul, Minn.) April 26, 2006 — Minnesota Public Radio and its national production and distribution arm, American Public Media, today announced the creation of the Center for Innovation in Journalism at American Public Media. The Center’s purpose will be to continue to develop and share the highly successful Public Insight Journalism model. Public Insight Journalism uses a new approach and process to draw knowledge from an informed audience and assist reporters and editors in strengthening their ability to cover complex, newsworthy subject matter. Public radio stations across the country, along with several commercial news organizations, have already expressed interest in applying the Public Insight Journalism model in their newsrooms.

Over the past three years, Minnesota Public Radio has built the practices and software behind Public Insight Journalism and tested them for its regional coverage in the largest public radio station-based newsroom in the country. The centerpiece of Public Insight Journalism is the Public Insight Network — a group of thousands of informed Minnesotans who have agreed to help Minnesota Public Radio understand issues to assist MPR in covering the news.

"We have found that working with the audience can reinvigorate journalism, open the newsroom to more diversity than we could ever achieve through hiring alone, and break the media’s over-reliance on officials and expert spokespeople who try to manage the press," said Michael Skoler, managing director, News, American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio.

Public Insight Journalism is also being incorporated into American Public Media’s national programs, including Marketplace Money,® Weekend America,® and documentary unit, American RadioWorks.® These programs are drawing from citizens from all 50 states who have joined the national Public Insight Network.

One of the functions of the Center for Innovation in Journalism at American Public Media, along with operating public insight units in the Minnesota Public Radio newsroom and in American Public Media’s Frank Stanton Studios in Los Angeles, will be continually advancing journalism innovation, including:

— Building and testing new ways to engage the public and draw knowledge from citizens into news reporting
— Serving as a training and support facility for local news organizations interested in adopting Public Insight Journalism, including training other news staff to be public insight analysts and giving them access to the tools and techniques of Public Insight Journalism
— Providing a hub for convening journalists to discuss innovative approaches to covering major issues and journalism innovation in general

The Center will also maintain a national Public Insight Network to support shows that are regional or national in scope.

"Public Insight Journalism is the best opportunity that we see to reverse the national trend towards diminished depth and understanding in news programming that is sweeping the country due to a combination of media consolidation and declining economics for news media," said Bill Kling, president of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media. "The knowledgeable audience that gathers around public radio knows more than we will ever know about any given topic and we are pleased that our experimentation has proven that they will share their expertise with us."

The Center for Innovation in Journalism at American Public Media will be led by Michael Skoler, managing director, News, American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio, with senior leadership from Bill Buzenberg, senior vice president, News, American Public Media.

Initial support for the development of Public Insight Journalism has been provided by the Blandin Foundation, David B. Gold Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, JL Foundation, The John Larsen Foundation, The Kendeda Sustainability Fund of the Tides Foundation, McCormick Tribune Foundation, NASD Investor Education Foundation, and Minnesota Public Radio’s Next Standard capital campaign.

"The McCormick Tribune Foundation has been impressed with the development of Public Insight Journalism, and its potential for changing the way newsrooms do their work," said Clark Bell, director of the Journalism Program at the McCormick Tribune Foundation. "We’re also excited about the development of the Center for Innovation in Journalism at American Public Media, since it takes the changing media landscape into consideration to educate journalists on how to best tap their audience’s experience through technology."

Additional information about Public Insight Journalism can be found at http://minnesota.publicradio.org/publicinsightjournalism/.

Minnesota Public Radio® operates a 37-station radio network serving virtually all of Minnesota and parts of surrounding states and produces programming for radio, Internet and face-to-face audiences. Programs produced by Minnesota Public Radio and its national production and distribution arm, American Public Media, reach 14.2 million listeners nationwide each week. Of these, more than 780,000 listen regionally and in surrounding states. With nearly 90,000 members, Minnesota Public Radio has the highest percentage of listener membership of any community-supported public radio network in the United States. American Public Media is the largest station-based producer of public radio programs nationally, with a portfolio including A Prairie Home Companion,® Weekend America,® Saint Paul Sunday,® Marketplace,® Marketplace Money,® The Splendid Table,® Being® and special reports produced by its national documentary unit, American RadioWorks.® Minnesota Public Radio, along with its sister company Southern California Public Radio, is part of a larger family of companies within American Public Media Group — a national nonprofit organization whose purpose is to develop resources, services and systems to support public media for public service. A complete list of stations, programs and additional services can be obtained on www.mpr.org and www.americanpublicmedia.org.

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Source: Data are copyright Arbitron, Inc. Arbitron data are estimates only.
Spring 2005/Fall 2005 average