NBC announced it’s looking to expand on its successful partnership with the non-profit, investigative news site Voice of San Diego to markets beyond California. Its looking for similar set-ups in other markets where the complany owns local TV stations, including potentially New York City ; Los Angeles ; Chicago ; Miami ; Philadelphia; San Francisco ; Dallas-Ft. Worth ; Washington, D.C. ; and Hartford-New Haven, CT.
In a video announcing the news, NBC VP of News Greg Dawson described what they’re looking for as an organization that complements and expands what the local stations can do. Voice of Sandieo and the local station, for example, partner on three main features, including Fact Check. “The purpose of this is good journalism and serving the city,” Dawson says. “We wanted to do stories that are unique, that you can’t get somewhere else, that you wouldn’t necessarily get on our air, if we were doing it ourselves, or on Voice of San Diego’s website, if they were doing it themselves.”
While they don’t specifically say the applicants for the partnership need to be websites, the application makes it very clear they’re looking for already established, robust online communities by whomever is chosen. They specifically want to know about page and video views and about how much content your organization is putting out on various platforms, including specifically asking about blogs and in a separate question flat out, “How do you use social media?” It’s clear that the TV stations realize that’s how they’re going to reach people interested in these unique, untold stories.
NBC says the deadline for local non-profit, news organizations to apply is July 22. (So pass this link on to your favorite!) It wants to pick at least four other cities to launch these cooperatives in. It will be interesting to see which cities it finds an able and adept partner in, who those partners are, and whether the work there is as fruitful as what comes out of San Diego. What’s encouraging, either way, is that this is an example of a major company deciding to partner with rather than try to start-up and compete with local, home-grown news organizations.