Today marked the official announcement of NPR's latest local-national journalism initiative, and the biggest, broadest one yet.
Ultimately, Impact of Government will network 100 journalists (two per state), who will tell the story of the actions (or inactions) of government in each state, and how they effect people individually and at the community level. The new initiative, which begins its pilot phase in March 2011, is launching with a $1.8 million grant from the Open Society Foundations.
Admittedly, coverage of government is pretty dense and can be dull to anyone who is not part of that particular political microcosm. Impact of Government seeks to break that mold. These journalists will benefit from a cadre of NPR editors and specialists who are tracking local and state governments with a view to what's happening across the country. They'll also have direct access to colleagues in other states who are dealing with the same issues and challenges, so they can compare their observations and findings and discern what's really going on. Together, they'll make sense of what's happening within each state, across state and regional lines and in the nation as a whole.
NPR thanks the Open Society Foundations for stepping forward as the first funder for Impact of Government. We'll announce the eight states that will take part in Phase One of the project before the end of the year.