Produced by WDET, Detroit's NPR Station

Exploring Ways to Sustain Engaging Journalism

Exploring Ways to Sustain Engaging Journalism
June 4, 2018 Courtney Hurtt

WDET has been awarded a $100,000 grant that will explore how the station can diversify its audience and revenue through the practice of engaged journalism.

The grant, presented earlier this year by the Democracy Fund, will also yield learning materials that document emerging best practices, case studies, and tools to be shared with other local and non-profit media organizations.

“Connecting with the audience in a meaningful way is critical to building trust,” explains Courtney Hurtt, Associate Director of Product Strategy and Business Operations at WDET. “Producing stories that represent diverse voices and experiences is a part of our mission, and this grant helps us sustain that mission by involving the community.”

The station will leverage the Democracy Fund grant to experiment with generating new forms of support for its Framed by WDET series. Produced in partnership with eighteen local artists, this multi-media photography and storytelling initiative celebrates Detroit’s diversity through art installations that feature stories about the region’s ethnic and cultural communities. A photo book and additional installations showcasing this body of work will be produced in 2018.

WDET is joined by The Work Department, a Detroit-based design and strategy studio, who will facilitate the development and documentation of fundraising experiments that attract new individual donors and underwriting sponsors. By working with stakeholders throughout the process, the station seeks to increase the value of its engaged journalism.

“We believe that the same underlying engagement principles that have led to the success of projects like Framed by WDET can be applied to evolve our business model,” shares Michelle Srbinovich, General Manager at WDET. “It’s important that we create new opportunities for people to access, engage with and see themselves reflected in public media. This grant will allow us to go one step further and reimagine the ways people can support it.”

The Framed by WDET photo book and installations are partially funded by a separate, matching arts grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

WDET 101.9 FM is a public service of Wayne State University.

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