A national pilot project that gave Boise State Public Radio two full-time reporters to explore economic issues ends at the end of September, but the stations news director said the programs approach will live on, widened to focus on additional issues.
The pilot project is called StateImpact Idaho. One of the reporters, Molly Messick, announced on the projects website that May 15 was her last day. StateImpacts parent organization, National Public Radio, has said it will cease its relationship with StateImpact and the eight pilot projects including Idahos it fostered.
In Idaho, the StateImpact brand will disappear Sept. 30, News Director Sadie Babits said Friday, but were going to continue that same level of reporting as we move forward.
We have actually gained so much from this project, Babits said. This isnt the end of that style of journalism. Its just the beginning of what is to come.
Babits said she could not discuss staff specifics or alternate funding sources, but she said the stations news staffing levels will remain the same after September. The stations NPR funding for the pilot program was always scheduled to end this fall, and the second year of the grant included only 30 percent funding from NPR down from 70 percent the first year. NPR had, however, planned to continue providing centralized resources for StateImpact projects and eventually expand the program to reach all 50 states.
Boise State Public Radio plans to add a new digital content coordinator, which Babits said will help maintain the multimedia approach Messick and Emilie Ritter Saunders used for StateImpact.
She characterized StateImpacts approach as deep-dive journalism, exploring topic areas in depth. The economic realm Saunders and Messick have mined for the past two years will remain, she said, and will be joined by several other in-depth coverage areas that have not been rolled out yet.
Were a medium-size public radio newsroom. I can see us owning three to four areas in coverage, she said.
Several StateImpact Idaho reports have been featured in the Statesmans Business Insider magazine.
Idahos StateImpact team was one of three that chose the economy as the major policy theyd follow; the others were in New Hampshire and Oklahoma. Florida, Indiana and Ohio stations chose an education focus, while teams in Pennsylvania and Texas tackled energy and the environment.
Earlier, NPR had intended to expand StateImpact to additional states and ultimately to all 50 states.
Kristin Rodine: 377-6447