WBUR Expands Education Reporting with Boston Foundation Grant

September 16, 2013

Contact: Louise Kennedy, WBUR, 617-353-8452; lkenne@wbur.org

BOSTON, Sept. 17 – WBUR is launching a statewide education reporting project, thanks to a $100,000 grant: $50,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and a matching $50,000 grant from the Boston Foundation.

The project, a partnership between WBUR, the Boston Foundation and Glass Eye Media, is designed to create a forum for thoughtful conversation around improving Massachusetts schools. Learning Lab will use WBUR’s editorial resources, the structured beat approach that Glass Eye Media originally developed for its award-winning Homicide Watch, and the Boston Foundation’s connection to the education community to build data, create tools and encourage change. The project will increase the station’s capacity to cover education, while building a replicable framework for effective coverage of education reform in other regions and states.

“We’re excited to be working with Glass Eye Media and the Boston Foundation to expand WBUR’s coverage of education, a critically important issue for our community,” said John Davidow, WBUR executive editor, digital. “With the tools and reporting we’ll provide, parents and policymakers will get real information about what works and what doesn’t in education reform, and they’ll be able to participate more effectively in conversations about what to do next.”

Charlie Kravetz, WBUR general manager, noted, “We’re delighted to be partnering with the Boston Foundation on this grant. It’s a strong indicator of our commitment to innovation in education reporting.”

“The Boston Foundation shares WBUR’s belief in the power of data to inform and engage,” said Paul S. Grogan, president and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “We're excited to support the launch of Learning Lab and the opportunity to bring WBUR’s and Glass Eye Media’s trusted, independent reporting and analysis to education.”

This grant is one of 10 awarded this year through the Knight Community Information Challenge, which engages community and place-based foundations in supporting news and information projects. Other winning projects include data training for Alaskan journalists, community news partnerships in rural Washington and New Mexico, and a new database in New Orleans to track government contracts.

“Whether you’re interested in improving schools, government transparency, or air quality, good information is a key ingredient to social change,” said Bahia Ramos, director of Knight Foundation’s community foundation program. “A growing number of community and place-based foundations realize that and are stepping up to invest in meeting community information needs.”

About 90.9 WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station
Founded in 1950, WBUR began broadcasting NPR programming in 1970, offering NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered along with local news programming and establishing its iconic identity as a news and information station. One of the nation’s most successful public radio stations today, WBUR produces national programs On Point, Here & Now, Only A Game and Car Talk, reaching millions of listeners on NPR stations across the United States and online. Located on Commonwealth Avenue at Boston University, WBUR has the largest radio newsroom in New England, dedicated to covering topics that matter in Boston, across Massachusetts and throughout the region. For more, visit www.wbur.org.

About the Boston Foundation
The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of nearly $900 million. In 2012, the Foundation and its donors made $88 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of close to $60 million. The Foundation is a partner in philanthropy, with some 900 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, provider of information, convener and sponsor of special initiatives that address the region’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit www.tbf.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.KnightFoundation.org.

About Glass Eye Media
Glass Eye Media, founded by Chris and Laura Amico, created Homicide Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based website for data-driven coverage of violent crime that was recognized as a notable entry in the 2011 Knight-Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism. News organizations and universities including the Sun Times, Digital First Media, Northeastern University and University of Colorado Boulder have partnered with Glass Eye Media to license its technology and use its community-driven approach to journalism. In 2013, Homicide Watch DC won the Knight award for public service journalism, was a finalist in the general excellence category for news sites by the Online News Association, and received a special citation from the National Press Foundation. For more, visit www.homicidewatch.org.

Louise Kennedy, Director/Community Engagement, WBUR, 617-909-0123; lkenne@wbur.org
Andrew Sherry, VP/Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677; media@knightfoundation.org
Ted McEnroe, Director of Public Relations, The Boston Foundation, 617-338-3890; ted.mcenroe@tbf.org