GBH News, the local arm of the public broadcasting behemoth GBH, is launching an initiative to cover racial and socioeconomic equity issues with the support of a $750,000 grant from the Barr Foundation. The Boston Globe’s newly created Power, Money, Inequality project is also being funded through a $750,000 Barr grant. The GBH press release follows.

GBH News, the fastest-growing local newsroom in the region, today announced the creation of an ambitious new multiplatform unit that will focus on racial and socioeconomic equity issues in Greater Boston and beyond. The Equity and Justice unit will develop regional and national interest stories around these key topics, expanding its commitment to community events, engaging directly with the audience, and elevating community voices using the GBH News platform.

“Shining a light on inequity — whether around healthcare, housing, income, or other topics — is an important job for our news organization,” said Susan Goldberg, president and CEO of GBH. “As the nation’s largest producer of public media content, we want to ensure awareness of these pressing issues is woven into the stories we tell, the way we work, and the platforms on which we share news and information.”

GBH News has a demonstrated commitment to multi-platform coverage exposing inequities in the region, such as educational disparities, unequal access to public spaces, the dogged fight for affordable housing and equity among city contracts as well as the rise of white supremacist extremism.

Over the next three years, GBH News will produce a number of in-depth, multiplatform series, along with in-person community engagement events throughout Massachusetts. GBH News will deepen and expand its relationships with community-based media of color and with influencers in those communities to foster richer two-way communication.

“Over the past three years, GBH News has worked to become an audience-focused, multiplatform news organization that tells distinctive local stories, informed by the communities we serve,” said Pam Johnston, General Manager for GBH News. “We are creating an inclusive and culturally responsive newsroom committed to trust and collaboration, accessibility and impact. We want to cover both the problems and the solutions to better serve an increasingly diverse and curious population.”

GBH News Executive Editor Lee Hill will oversee the unit, staffed from current reporters, editors, and new hires. The content will be distributed across all GBH News properties, including GBH flagship radio and television shows, YouTube, social and digital platforms, and via partners at New England Public Media (NEPM) in western Massachusetts, the New England News Collaborative (NENC), and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station.

“To be successful, we have to change the very nature of how we approach local journalism. We must increase our capacity to report on the systemic barriers disproportionately blocking marginalized communities from thriving,” said Hill. “We’ll deepen our commitment to our audience, listening to them and investing the time and resources needed to better understand what matters most to them while amplifying their voices and life experiences. Ultimately, this will help us connect with an audience that has never fully seen themselves represented in public media.”

This focus on community has already yielded notable successes. A limited-run broadcast of Spanish-language show “Salud” increased listenership among Hispanic audiences on 89.7FM. A similar collaboration with local podcaster James Hills brought his program “Java with Jimmy” to GBH’s Boston Public Library studio space.

The unit is being supported with a $750,000 grant from the Barr Foundation. The grant will help GBH News continue transforming its coverage and newsroom systems to ensure every story includes an awareness of minority experiences.

Leave a comment | Read comments

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.