In today's 24/7 news cycle, audiences expect immediate access to the latest information about their community, especially on devices such as smart phones and tablets. News organizations must be nimble and able to respond to this demand, breaking stories over multiple media platforms while at the same time ensuring the news they are reporting is accurate and consistent.
KPBS, the public television and radio station in San Diego, Calif., is striving to meet this goal and better serve the information needs of the local community through several recent changes to its model of reporting and story development. In 2009, KPBS merged its TV, radio and web departments into one news team, making the KPBS newsroom faster, more flexible and more accurate in gathering and disseminating news. As a result of the change, staff could easily share information, pool resources and work together to produce stories, providing the San Diego community with more timely news and information.
Less than two years later, KPBS took this successful model of convergence to the next level with the construction and launch of the Joan and Irwin Jacobs KPBS News Center, a new state-of-the-art newsroom built to more effectively reach audiences through the new and evolving ways they choose to receive news, specifically on web-enabled devices.
Most recently, in July, KPBS launched an expanded Investigations Desk, part of its growing partnership with the non-profit data-driven news group called Investigative Newsource, which is embedded in the KPBS newsroom. The partnership enables KPBS to produce more local stories that will feed into KPBS.org, Morning Edition on the radio, the radio talk show KPBS Midday Edition, and the TV news program, KPBS Evening Edition.
As result of these changes to its news gathering and production process, KPBS now reaches more than one million people a week through TV, radio, the web, mobile and social media. In addition, philanthropic and grant support for the KPBS news team has also grown significantly in the past three years.
The station is also seeing growth online, according to Station Manager Deanna Mackey. “Our audience is very engaged online, regularly commenting on our stories and encouraging the station to keep true to its balanced approach to news,” she said. “We also find that in moments of breaking news or crisis, our numbers online and mobile will skyrocket, sometimes even doubling, as our audience flocks to us for information and answers online.”
KPBS's innovative model for local newsgathering has significantly benefited the station and, more importantly, local audiences. But the news team is not content with the status quo. Team members are continually on the lookout for new approaches that will further demonstrate the station's commitment to covering local news and encourage San Diego viewers to turn to KPBS first for trusted information about their community.
KPBS has been a part of San Diego State University since its inception in 1960.