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October 22, 2010

KEDM seeks solutions to education challenges in the South

KEDM Public Radio, 90.3 FM, housed at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, is joining a consortium of public broadcasters to create the Southern Regional Education Desk, which will focus on reporting of education issues of particular relevance to the region. KEDM is the only Louisiana radio station partnering in the project.

The Southern Regional Education Desk is a cooperative endeavor of Georgia Public Broadcasting; Alabama Public Television; Mississippi Public Broadcasting; Louisiana Public Broadcasting; WNPT-TV, Nashville, Tenn.; WUOT-FM, Knoxville, Tenn.; WBHM-FM, Birmingham, Ala.; and KEDM.

The SRED will create multimedia, multiplatform content on and raise awareness of the unique, long-standing education challenges facing the South. In addition to reporting and producing broadcast content, the partner stations will create an interactive Web site and Web modules that will distribute and curate content, and undertake community engagement activities through events, partnerships and social media.

This consortium will simply ask three questions: What impedes educational progress in the South? What is working for education in the South? And how can we, the public, take these answers and develop smarter students and a better future for our communities?

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is funding the new local journalism centers for a ground-breaking approach the newsgathering and its distribution. Georgia Public Broadcasting is the lead station in the $1.2 million two-year CPB grant for the Southern region.

"The Local Journalism Centers initiative enhances public media's ability to meet the information needs of local communities at a time when access to high quality, original reporting is declining and we are very happy to be expanding the program," Patricia Harrison, the CEO and President of CPB said. "The need for independent and in-depth coverage of local issues is greater today than ever, and we have a responsibility to ensure that journalism can continue to thrive and serve the needs of our democracy."

CPB is funding local journalism centers in seven regions around the country, increasing original local reporting capacity in those areas.
"This opportunity to expand local content is a boon to our region and to KEDM," said station manager Joel Willer. "A more appropriate focus topic – education – could not have been chosen for our particular service area." KEDM will immediately begin work toward the launch of the project, near the beginning of the new calendar year. Willer will serve on the executive committee overseeing the Southern Regional Education Desk.

KEDM Public Radio is licensed to ULM and broadcasts a line-up of in-depth news, classical music, and jazz, along with special entertainment programs from studios located on the ULM campus.

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