OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma news collaborative is being developed to foster collaborative local news content for outlets in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and elsewhere in the state.
The Inasmuch Foundation and the Local Media Association have announced plans to form the Oklahoma Media Center. It will initially focus on developing and sharing local and regional news content related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on Oklahoma communities.
Eventually, organizers say, the center’s cooperative news reporting and curation may evolve to include other topics important to people in Oklahoma.
Organizers have begun discussions with several media organizations about participating. In a statement, the organizers said organizations that have expressed interest include: The Oklahoman, The Tulsa World, TV station owners Griffin Communications, digital outlets The Frontier, Oklahoma Watch and NonDoc, The Luther Register, public radio stations KOSU and KGOU, and The Curbside Chronicle, a publication created by and for and sold by people who are homeless. Others partners may be announced.
“The future of journalism is collaborative,” said Nancy Lane, chief executive officer of the Local Media Association. “We are thrilled to bring this opportunity to Oklahoma and very grateful to Inasmuch Foundation for funding this important work. We are inspired by the impact that other collaborative groups across the country are having; we’ll share what we have learned to quickly get the Oklahoma Media Center up and running.”
Inasmuch was founded in 1982 and champions journalism, education, human services and community to improve quality of life for Oklahoma residents, according to the joint statement. The foundation is funding The Coronavirus Storytelling Project, which pays stipends to Oklahoma journalists chronicling the effects of COVID-19 on the state and their jobs when they take forced unpaid time off, a cost-saving tactic in the struggling newspaper industry.
Newspaper advertising revenue has been steadily declining as readers increasingly get their news online, where ad rates are a small fraction of what they are on the printed page. The coronavirus epidemic has exacerbated the issue.
The Local Media Association is a charitable trust that works with more 3,000 media outlets and with a focus on cooperation.