Texas Public Radio Stations and NPR Launch Collaborative Statewide Newsroom

Sep 9, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas —Sept. 9, 2019 – Public radio stations across Texas are teaming with NPR to increase coverage of statewide issues and boost reporting from underserved regions, including the border with Mexico. Reporters and editors from the state’s four largest public radio stations — KUT in Austin, KERA in Dallas, Texas Public Radio in San Antonio, and Houston Public Media — will plan statewide coverage together, share resources, and dig deeper into the most important stories in Texas.

“Without access to information in local communities, at the state level, at the national and international level, nothing short of our Democracy is at stake,” said Nancy Barnes, senior vice president of news and editorial director for NPR. “The Texas Newsroom is the first step in our collaborative journalism project that, when fully developed, will make public radio the strongest reporting network in the country and fill the newsgathering gaps that widen every day.”

This innovative collaboration begins with six live, statewide newscasts each weekday that draw content from public radio stations large and small across the state. So far, a dozen Texas NPR Member stations are carrying these newscasts, with others likely to join. As a result, public radio audiences in Texas get both local coverage from their local stations, as well as a broader, state-level view of the news. 

“KUT is proud to work in partnership with NPR and our peers across the state to report on the essential news for Texans,” said Debbie Hiott, executive director and general manager of KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station. “Organizing reporting resources across Texas allows us to deliver more of what’s happening across the state on the air and through digital channels, while freeing up station journalists to do more in-depth reporting at the local level.”

In addition to producing live statewide newscasts, the Texas stations are sharing in-depth reporting that appears on Texas Standard, the daily newsmagazine produced by KUT in Austin in collaboration with NPR Member stations across the state. This includes local stories of interest to a broader audience and statewide perspectives on issues that affect communities from El Paso to Corpus Christi. To lead the new statewide collaboration, The Texas Newsroom is hiring a managing editor and two senior editors. It has also hired two newscasters and a newscast editor to produce the statewide newscasts. They join a team of more than two dozen reporters at the partner stations, including two who are based along the Texas/Mexico border.

NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have made significant investments in the initiative, which will help reshape the way public media stations engage their audiences. Both national entities have identified this collaboration as a prototype for the way stations throughout the country can share resources and produce more of the journalism their communities need.

NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network will build on existing and new regional reporting collaborations across the country. The stations that now make up The Texas Newsroom came together four years ago after the launch of Texas Standard to form the Texas Station Collaborative, an innovative, industry-leading partnership.

The Texas Newsroom In Action

The advantages of this multi-station and network collaboration are already evident, especially in breaking news situations like the recent mass shootings in El Paso and in Midland/Odessa. 

As soon as the El Paso shootings were reported, the newly-appointed Texas Newsroom senior editor based in Dallas dispatched reporters from Marfa and Dallas to El Paso, while a reporter in San Antonio went on the air with the first newscast spots for NPR’s national audience. At the same time, digital teams across the Texas Newsroom built out web posts for all the stations to use, including stories about the victims. As the week unfolded, a San Antonio editor led the statewide effort, in close coordination with the NPR National Desk. The new El Paso-based reporter brought in-depth insight and knowledge of the region to her coverage for local, statewide and national audiences. This seamless, multi-layered coverage was the result of relationships built through statewide collaboration and would not have been possible before the partnership was established.

This new regional collaboration in Texas is an important step. By working more closely together across the state, we will hear from new, more diverse voices, we will provide deeper news coverage, and we will strengthen local journalism. 

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About KUT 90.5
KUT 90.5 delivers in-depth stories by and about people in Austin — for Austin — with the highest journalistic standards from a variety of thoughtful perspectives. A founding member of NPR, KUT News has won more than 250 state, national and international awards for journalistic excellence. KUT’s work is directly supported by a community of sustaining members and local businesses whose investments power the news and conversations that matter to Austin.

About KERA
KERA is a not-for-profit public media organization serving North Texas through KERA TV, KERA Create, KERA Kids 24/7, KERA 90.1 and the Triple-A music station KXT 91.7 FM. For over 50 years, North Texans have turned to KERA as a vibrant destination for community engagement and lifelong learning. KERA produces original multimedia content, carries the best in national and international public television and radio programs, and provides online resources at kera.org.

About Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio is a listener-supported, nonprofit broadcaster operating seven radio stations, serving communities in South Texas, the Hill Country and San Antonio area. The majority of TPR's outlets provide their communities with in-depth news and information from NPR, APM, the BBC and the TPR newsroom. This programming is broadcast to the San Antonio area on KSTX 89.1 FM, the Hill Country on KTXI 90.1 FM, the Snyder and Big Country region on KTPR 89.9 FM, the Gonzales area on KCTI 1450 AM, the Highland Lakes on KVHL 91.7 FM and the Del Rio area on KTPD 89.3 FM. TPR also presents classical music 24 hours a day on KPAC 88.3 FM in San Antonio and evenings/overnights on KTXI 90.1 FM in the Hill Country. More information, news and streaming are available at tpr.org.

About Houston Public Media
Houston Public Media is a service of the University of Houston and supported with financial gifts from the community. Houston Public Media combines broadcast and digital assets to serve residents of Southeast Texas with trusted local news and entertainment and national programming from NPR and PBS. With a combined weekly audience of more than 1.6 million, Houston Public Media is committed to delivering content that expands minds and possibilities with quality information.

About NPR
NPR's rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (npr.org/stations), and now it's easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, "Play NPR," and you'll be tuned into your local Member station's live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Media Contacts
KUT: Erin Geisler (512) 475-8071
NPR: Isabel Lara (202) 513-2304
KERA: Andy Canales (214) 740-9236
Texas Public Radio: Bobby Salluce (210) 801-8237
Houston Public Media: Victoria Cordova (832) 842-5866