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WKSU Secures Funding to Expand Coverage

Reporting Projects Include Rural Health Care, Eviction and Infant Mortality

WKSU is expanding its coverage of often overlooked issues and communities with multiple planned reporting projects. The projects include reporting on health care in rural areas, eviction and infant mortality in the Akron and Cleveland areas.

The award-winning public radio station in Kent, Ohio, has accepted grants to help fund the projects and will partner with other local news organizations to share resources.

 “WKSU's daily local news coverage plays a vital role promoting civic health and thriving communities, but sometimes journalism can make a more direct public service contribution,” WKSU General Manager Wendy Turner says. “These grants allow WKSU reporters and our collaborators to uncover and distribute critical information to those who may directly need it.”

Rural Heath Care

Starting this summer, WKSU will take up the topic of rural health care. Report for America is awarding the station a grant to help fund an additional journalist on its reporting team. Report for America is a national service program that places up-and-coming journalists at news organizations throughout the country for one or two years to cover under-reported issues and communities. WKSU proposed reporting on the topic of rural health care.

The host newsroom selection process is competitive. Fifty judges evaluate each application at least four times. Host newsrooms are considered based on the quality of the organizations, commitment to local journalism, and the proposals for how they will use the Report for America journalists.

The host newsrooms for 2020-2021 include 69 daily newspapers, 39 digital-only websites, 39 public radio stations, 12 local TV stations, and five nondaily newspapers.

Report for America will announce the winning journalists and their assigned newsrooms in April. The journalists will begin working in their newsrooms in June.

Eviction and Infant Mortality

WKSU will partner with The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer and Spectrum News 1 on two separate collaborative reporting projects. One project will focus on eviction and tenant rights, and the other will address the issue of infant mortality. The goal of this work is to provide basic-needs information to people within the communities who can benefit from it. The news organization partners will work with several community service organizations and with citizens to gather information about the needs of people facing eviction or at-risk for infant mortality.

The collaborative projects are among nine the Akron Community Foundation, The Center for Community Solutions, the Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, and the Knight Foundation have chosen to support. The funders are coming together to provide more than $110,000 in grants to help encourage collaborative journalism around issues in the Northeast Ohio community.

“It is our goal to strengthen the fabric that creates a healthy civic life for everyone in our communities,” Turner says. “Our approach to telling the stories of struggle, complexity, conflict and triumph is meant to provide a place of common understanding.”