PULLMAN – Northwest Public Radio (NWPR) and several WSU programs are teaming up for a year-long project called “Our Northwest,” which aims at building and engaging listeners around topics they’ve defined as important .

The series started May 23 with “Our Organic Northwest” and “Our Northwest Water”, on-air and online special reports about organic gardening and water conservation.
 
Both topics were identified by preliminary research as very important to NWPR listeners.
 
WSU experts Brad Jaeckel, WSU Organic Farm manager and instructor, and Mike Barber, director of the Water Resource Center for WSU, are interviewed by Glen Mosley every Thursday during Morning Edition and All Things Considered through June 19.
 
The online materials will continue to evolve after that, with contributors throughout the region.
 
 “We are learning a great deal as this interactive, multi-media initiative evolves,” said Mary Hawkins, educational media liaison for NWPR and KWSU/KTNW television.
 
“We’re learning what motivates listeners/viewers as we present topics. And while we work to provide students and interns with experience in a professional setting, they are teaching us about this new, interactive environment.”
 
“We have young professionals and several interns contributing great energy and creativity to the series. We’re also working with WSU undergrads – who also have a lot to offer.”
 
The project is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It offers students in the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, working with assistant professor Brett Atwood, experience in converging media.
 
It also gives students the opportunity to contribute their work and gain professional experience in multimedia.
 
Since “Our Northwest” began, listeners have called and e-mailed looking for answers to their water use and gardening questions.
 
“So far, the feedback from listeners is very helpful, and much more information, links and articles will be posted online the coming days,” Hawkins said.
 
Listeners can ask questions as they plan their garden, to learn more about adding organically-grown produce to the table, as well as to learn about water conservation issues, and how to conserve water in and around the home.
 
This fall “Our Northwest” will feature a “card sort” game, developed by WSU communication professor, Doug Hindman, which will help people identify their interests and concerns regarding important regional issues.
 
Those interested in sending questions for WSU experts can email Hawkins at mhawkins@wsu.edu.
 
Listeners who can serve as experts are also welcome to contact Hawkins, if they wish to contribute to the project.