InvestigateWest Project Summary: A New Branded Radio Series

InvestigateWest is an independent nonprofit journalism studio in the Pacific Northwest, covering environment, public health and government accountability.

This grant will support a collaborative project with Seattle NPR affiliate KUOW to launch a new branded radio series, coupling InvestigateWest’s investigative know-how with KUOW’s audience reach. This series will allow listeners to look forward to broadcasts, find related material online, and support the series financially. InvestigateWest will provide the foundation of a story through data analysis, public records and traditional reporting, and KUOW will add the narrative storytelling to make for must-listen radio.

The unbundled pieces will air during drive time. Both organizations will benefit from opportunities to increase audience engagement generated: in-studio interviews, public conversations with sources and experts, a podcast, and documentary photography exhibitions. While an ambitious project, both organizations expect to create several paths to sustainability and ultimately cover 100% of total operating costs going forward.

Last summer, a series created by InvestigateWest on missing persons involving Alzheimer’s or dementia was packaged and given to both a local television station for a half-hour special and to KUOW for a two part series. It was also distributed to five newspapers with a combined circulation of over 200,000. This package informed to the Oregon legislature creating a Silver Alert system mandating written policies and formal training for police officers statewide.

What knowledge will be gained from this experiment?

InvestigateWest hopes to discover the market for high quality investigative reporting, the topics, ideas and issues that motivate such support, and answer the question, “Can this partnership generate ongoing revenue for both organizations?”