A $4.7 million grant will help fund the creation of two more regional public radio newsrooms, NPR announced.
The organization said philanthropists Eric and Wendy Schmidt are donating to NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network. Eric Schmidt held leadership positions at Google and Alphabet; Wendy Schmidt worked in marketing in Silicon Valley and started a residential interior design business; she is president of the Schmidt Family Foundation.
One newsroom will be in California, the other in the Midwest serving stations in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. The goal is to “increase local coverage across the states, especially in underserved communities” and expand investigative reporting capacity.
NPR announced the California regional newsroom in February. That collaboration will be led by KQED in San Francisco and includes KPBS in San Diego, CapRadio in Sacramento, KPCC/LAist and KCRW in Southern California, with NPR as the national partner. The newsroom will serve the 17 public radio stations in the state.
The 25 public radio stations in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska will have access to content from the Midwest regional newsroom, which will be led by KCUR in Kansas City, St. Louis Public Radio, Iowa Public Radio and NET in Nebraska with NPR as national partner.
NPR officials said these newsrooms will focus on investigative reporting, hiring small teams of investigative journalists to work with station reporters on their public service investigations.
The California news hub is the second regional collaboration with local stations under NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network. The first was the Texas Newsroom. Separately public stations in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana joined to launch the Gulf States newsroom. The Midwest makes four, and NPR said more are in the works.