To address misinformation about COVID-19 in local areas, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is awarding a total of $275,000 in emergency grants to 14 public media stations across the country.
The grants — up to $20,000 each — will go to public television and radio stations in areas with low vaccination and high infection rates or in hotspots with a growing number of coronavirus infections.
Funding will be used to produce or extend programming about the pandemic, to organize community outreach efforts about vaccines and to develop multiplatform public service announcement campaigns.
“Public media stations, locally operated, work with their communities through partnerships of trust,” said Patricia Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “General managers of stations serving America’s communities that are hard hit by the pandemic are committed to breaking through the cycle of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and are providing information that is saving lives.”
Some of the 14 grants include Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson, Miss. The station will produce a series of radio and television broadcast specials focused on COVID-19. The station will also host a virtual town hall with medical experts and produce a social media campaign designed to combat information. Others, like Wyoming Public Media is Laramie, Wyo., will spotlight personal testimonials about COVID infections and increase newsroom reporting on the pandemic’s impact on the state economy. In the east, West Virginia Public Broadcasting in Charleston, W.Va., will orchestrate a multiplatform outreach effort to younger audiences in communities that have been vaccine hesitant. The station will also work with kids programs like PBS KIDS to reach families with young children.
Other station’s include Arkansas PBS in Conway, Ark., Boise State Public Radio in Boise, KERA in Dallas, Nine PBS in St. Louis, KRSU in Tulsa, Okla., KOSU in Stillwater, Okla., Louisiana Public Broadcasting and WRKF in Baton Rouge, WBHM in Birmingham, Ala., WCTE in Cookeville, Tenn., and WJCT Public Media in Jacksonville, Fla.