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Kansas City PBS Hires Two Reporters to Expand News Coverage

Report for America Support to Help Finance Expansion

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Above image credit: Kansas City skyline. (Contributed | Mark Stacey)

Kansas City PBS, in partnership with Report for America, has hired two additional reporters to expand coverage of rural issues and the ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting in June, Jacob Douglas will be focused on expanding coverage outside of the immediate Kansas City metropolitan area. In addition, Catherine Hoffman will be focused on COVID-19 and related health care coverage.

Both Douglas and Hoffman are graduating from the University of Missouri this spring. Their work is expected to appear across all of the Kansas City PBS media platforms — KCPT, Flatland and 90.9 The Bridge.

Catherine Hoffman
Catherine Hoffman. (Brad Austin | Flatland)
Jacob Douglas
Jacob Douglas. (Brad Austin | Flatland)

“We are convinced that public media has an important role to play in helping to fill the coverage gaps that are emerging in local journalism,” said Kliff Kuehl, president and CEO of Kansas City PBS. “These two talented journalists will help us expand our coverage both geographically and topically at a crucial moment in Kansas City’s history.”

Report for America is a national service program launched in 2017 that places journalists in local newsrooms to address emerging “news deserts” across the country. It is an initiative of the nonprofit news organization, The GroundTruth Project. 

Report for America today announced the selection of 225 journalists from among more than 1,800 applicants for its 2020 reporting corps. Those reporters are being placed with 162 local news organizations in 45 states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Nearly half of those reporters are being placed with nonprofit media organizations, such as Kansas City PBS.

Under the program, Report for America initially pays half of a reporter’s salary, while local news partners and other community contributors cover the rest. Report for America plans to increase the size of its reporter corps to 1,000 journalists by 2024.

Among many others, Report for America is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Facebook Journalism Project, the Google News Initiative, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Ford Foundation.

“It’s now crystal clear that the need for trustworthy, accurate, and local information can be a matter of life and death,” said Steven Waldman, co-founder and president of Report for America. “This surge of reporters should help meet this moment.” 

Today, Report for America also announced a new $2.5 million contribution from the Facebook Journalism Project to help support local news organizations dealing with pandemic coverage.

“Local journalists are providing us with an extraordinary public service 24 hours a day,” said Campbell Brown, vice president of Global News Partnerships with Facebook. “We all need to understand how the virus is impacting the communities where we live—it’s vital information that’s helping keep our friends and families safe, and we’re proud to support Report for America in this effort.” 

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