YAKIMA, Wash. – In a project that began with the rural journalism initiative at The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to help expand Northwest Public Radio’s (NWPR) news coverage in central Washington.
The grant, which will be matched by the Yakima Valley Community Foundation (YVCF), provides the initial investment for NWPR to establish a bilingual news team in Yakima. The team will create news reports for broadcast across a variety of radio stations and digital platforms in partnership with the Spanish language station KDNA.
Known as the Yakima Valley Community Information Connection, the project is one of 10 local information grants supported by the foundation nationwide to help improve journalism and increase government transparency under the Knight Community Information Challenge.
“The Yakima Valley is important to the greater Northwest, economically and culturally,” said Kerry Swanson, station manager of NWPR. “This project is about strengthening connections and forging new ones: connections across language barriers, connections to important issues and various perspectives, and connections throughout the Northwest to the vitality of the Yakima Valley. We’re looking forward to helping amplify the voices of the valley.”
“The Knight Foundation has helped raise awareness that local journalism has gone through a transformation in the last decade and that loss of local information hurts our community,” said Linda Moore, president and CEO of YVCF. “There are fewer news teams left in the Yakima Valley and those remaining have to fill the whole need for news about important issues with fewer resources than in past years.”
She said she hopes to expand the project to include more partners around the valley. YVCF will work with both radio stations to establish long-term funding.
KDNA station manager Juan Ozuna said the partnership will significantly boost local news service at the station.
“It’s expensive and time-consuming to research and produce news every week, but residents deserve to know what’s happening at home and how it impacts their lives,” he said. “Sharing resources and working together with NWPR is a practical way to serve listeners and get the issues in the valley heard.”
Kerry Swanson, station manager, NWPR at WSU, 509-335-6512, firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Moore, president and CEO, YVCF, 509-457-7616, email@example.com