Chicago public radio WBEZ-FM (91.5) is at the center of a new Corporation for Public Broadcasting initiative called the Upper Midwest Local Journalism Center. WBEZ, in collaboration with Michigan Radio (WUOM-FM (91.7) in Ann Arbor and Detroit, WFUM-FM (91.1) in Flint, and WVGR-FM (104.1) in Grand Rapids) and Cleveland's Ideastream (WCPN-FM (90.3) and WVIZ-TV) will focus on covering the economic transformation of the upper midwest and the challenges and opportunities facing the industrial heartland.
Under the editorial direction of WBEZ, the three partnering entities will create multi-media content and report their work via radio, television, digital and community programs. The three partnering organizations will hire three reporters, a senior editor and a senior producer. The project's editor and one reporter will be based in Chicago.
The Upper Midwest Local Journalism Center is one of seven such centers being formed around the country through a two-year grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and financial contributions from the participating broadcast outlets.
Altogether, some $10.5 million is earmarked for the venture's first two years, after which time the hope is the project will become self-sustaining. "Our work showcasing the Great Lakes will continue the station's long-standing commitment to regional coverage and collaboration," said WBEZ managing editor Sally Eisele.