Who knew a little Greek mythology would inspire public media innovation? Well it has. And in a game changing kind of way.
As Jason and his brave band of followers set sail on their quest for the coveted Golden Fleece, so NPR and its team of member stations set forth on their pursuit to create a more informed citizenry. That's about as far as the analogy goes. The image of NPR trying to capture a gold-haired winged ram just doesn't stick, but it's a catchy name all the same!
Last week, with much media interest and gusto, NPR launched the Argo Network with 12 forward thinking member stations. Each station has created a news website that is focused on and committed to in-depth coverage of an important topic of both local and national importance. With grants from the Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 12 journalist-bloggers (one per station) were hired to operate from the center of each of the stations' newsrooms and dive deep into reporting on topics such as health care, education, environment, crime, politics, poverty, and more.
Designed to boost local online news reporting capacity, the Argo Network also has a strong social media component. The goal is to engage citizens in a civil dialogue across the country on relevant and pressing topics that both the individual communities and the nation face. Today, with the decline of local newspapers and cutbacks to news staff across the board, these discussions are more important than ever to keep the conversation going and the information flowing at the local and national levels.
The power of Argo lies within NPR's 285 member stations that operate more nearly 800 public radio stations across the country. The Argo Network stations are just the first dozen charter members at the forefront of a new way to inform the public on all sides of an issue.
There is plenty of room for expansion within the public radio system. Imagine the potential of hundreds of communities informed and educated on topics of high interest to them, their communities and their country. Citizens become actively engaged and armed with the ability to relate to and articulate many different sides of issues. It's a grassroots effort at its very core.
The words "NPR" and "network" could not exist in the same sentence were it not for the unique relationship between NPR and its member stations. NPR programs invoke a national voice, tackling issues that speak to the nation as a whole. Our stations know and speak the language of their local communities. Together we are far greater than the sum of our parts. Jason could not fulfill the mission without his Argonauts.
So you'll see a lot more NPR station collaborations as we sail forward into the future and as we actively shape this new media landscape...
Check out the launch members of the Argo Network:
CommonHealth: Where reform meets reality.
Climatide: Oceans, coasts, and climate change on Cape Cod.
Minnesota Public Radio
On Campus: Everything higher education in Minnesota.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Ecotrope: Covering the Northwest's environment.
The Empire: Everything you need to know about New York state politics and governance.
The Key: Discover Philly's best local music
Home Post: The military in San Diego
The Informant: Cops, courts and communities in the Bay Area.
MindShift: How we will learn
Humanosphere: Covering the fight to reduce poverty and improve global health.
Los Angeles/KPCC (Southern California Public Radio)
Multi-American: Immigration and cultural fusion in the new Southern California.
DCentric: The changing face of the District