Published October 6th, 2021 at 11:23 AM
Six local nonprofit organizations have formed the KC Media Collective, a new collaborative initiative designed to support and enhance local journalism. Members of the KC Media Collective include American Public Square, Kansas City PBS/Flatland, KCUR, Missouri Business Alert, Startland News and The Kansas City Beacon.
Each outlet brings diverse reporting and audiences to build a vibrant network of local journalism. The ultimate goal of the KC Media Collective is to better meet community information needs by maximizing resources through new lines of communication, content sharing and collaborative reporting.
In mid-October, members of the collective will jointly focus some of their coverage on housing topics and share their work across platforms. Likewise, Kansas City PBS’ new single-topic civic affairs program, Flatland, will turn its attention to issues facing the community’s unhoused population as winter approaches.
“As nonprofit media organizations, we can do more good work together than we can do apart. We’re trying to leverage our resources across various platforms, whether it’s digital or radio or television, to tell more stories and get them in front of more people in our community.” — Chris Lester, managing editor of Flatland and Kansas City PBS
“It’s no secret that the business model for local news is under duress and yet, good, local journalism has never been more important.” — Michael Stacy, managing editor of Missouri Business Alert
“The idea behind the collective is to really work together to pull resources, to start collaborating and to find ways we can better serve our audiences and the public.” — Kelsey Ryan, publisher and founder of The Kansas City Beacon
“The KC Media Collective is an opportunity for us to redefine how newsrooms interact in Kansas City. It has the potential for us to replace competition with collaboration.” — Tommy Felts, editor-in-chief of Startland News
“If we can get together and use our resources, use our different areas of expertise and our different mediums to tell stories as a group, we’re doing a better public service for Kansas City. And we’re hoping to create a model that makes this kind of local journalism sustainable for decades into the future.” — Lisa Rodriguez, news director of KCUR
“We have three primary objectives with the KC Media Collective. To earn, build and nurture trust within the communities that we serve; we also want to reduce barriers to access to information and engage broad swaths of the community that are quite diverse in terms of perspective and ethnicity and theology; and finally, strengthening journalism. Not something for the sake of journalism, but for the sake of our community at large.” — Claire Bishop, executive director and COO of American Public Square
The KC Media Collective’s mission is: “The KC Media Collective is a group of nonprofit and community-centered partners collaborating to make local news easily available, its coverage equitable and its operations sustainable. We will do this by deepening our understanding of the people who make up our region, reducing barriers to access and earning trust.”
The KC Media Collective is committed to efforts that emphasize mutual understanding and empathy within communities. We work towards a day when people have access to trusted news, and communities benefit through greater civic engagement. Breaking systemic barriers to news access, including poverty, language barriers, disabilities and educational inequity, will unleash the potential of our communities. Likewise, the sustainability of local news is central to the connectivity and success of the Kansas City region and each individual who calls it home.
The KC Media Collective initiative was made possible with support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
About American Public Square: American Public Square at Jewell is a Kansas City-based nonprofit community organization working to improve the tone and quality of public discourse. Through its diverse events, programs and resources, APS offers a better understanding of divergent perspectives with a focus on civility, facts and balanced perspectives – a key step toward mutual respect, compromise and resolution of challenging issues. americanpublicsquare.org
About Kansas City PBS: Located in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City PBS is a nonprofit multimedia organization serving the community since 1961. The PBS member station airs diverse content focused on civic affairs, science, food, drink, arts and culture on four television channels, including Channel 19.1, 19.2, 19.3 (Create) and 19.4, the 24-hour PBS kids channel. Channel 19.1 and 19.4 are also available to livestream online, with programming available on-demand in the PBS Video App and Kansas City PBS Passport, a member-benefit streaming service. Kansas City PBS serves students, caregivers and the local education community through free, online resources, workshops for parents and teachers, and annual conferences and events. It also owns and operates the local NPR music station, 90.9 The Bridge, providing nonprofit radio in a AAA format to listeners over the air and online streaming. Kansas City PBS’ nonprofit source for local journalism, Flatland (flatlandkc.org), produces multimedia reporting focused on civic affairs, arts and culture, food and drink, and education. For more information on Kansas City PBS or its wide variety of local and national content, visit kansascitypbs.org.
About KCUR: KCUR-FM is the flagship NPR station in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Founded in 1957 as Kansas City’s first public radio station, it has grown into a community institution providing free access to news, information and entertainment across greater Kansas City and beyond, broadcasting at 89.3 FM and online at kcur.org. KCUR is an increasingly vital part of NPR’s network, producing critically needed fact-based journalism for the region we serve. It is the lead station for several collaborations including the Kansas News Service, Harvest Public Media and the new NPR Midwest Newsroom hub.
About Missouri Business Alert: Missouri Business Alert is a digital newsroom that delivers top business news from across Missouri. A Missouri School of Journalism newsroom, Missouri Business Alert is managed by professionals and staffed by university students. The publication works to inform, connect and inspire Missouri’s business community and equip students for the future of business journalism. For more information, visit missouribusinessalert.com.
About Startland News: Founded in May 2015, Startland News is a nonprofit newsroom elevating Kansas City’s innovation community of entrepreneurs, startups, creatives, makers and risk-takers through objective storytelling. startlandnews.com
About The Kansas City Beacon: The Kansas City Beacon is a nonprofit online news outlet focused on in-depth journalism in the public interest. It launched in 2020 and is part of The Beacon, a regional nonprofit news network serving Kansas and Missouri. Beacon stories are revelatory, contextual, data-driven and solutions-driven. Our reporting centers around issues in health care, education, economics, environment and civic engagement. Meet our journalists here. Meet our Community Advisory Board here. Meet our Board of Directors here.