WBHM’s Local Journalism Innovation Fund

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Donations to WBHM are used to cover the general expenses of the station — everything from the power bill to salaries to the cost of NPR programming.

But in 2020, we were approached by several Birmingham-area benefactors who had a different idea for their donations. They wanted to invest their money in our newsroom. Specifically, they wanted to invest in local reporting, local podcasts, and other local news initiatives. That’s how the Local Journalism Innovation Fund was born. 

One generous couple wanted to create a recurring newsroom fellowship for young journalists. They made it possible for us to apply to Report for America with the hopes of getting an RFA corps member to spend 2021 in our newsroom covering education issues in Birmingham and across Alabama. We should find out in December if we’ve been approved to be a host newsroom.

Several other major donors were interested in ushering us into the podcast arena. With their backing, production is underway for “Deliberately Indifferent” in which our reporter Mary Scott Hodgin explores the systematic and deadly problems in Alabama’s prisons. A preview of that major journalistic undertaking will be coming soon. 

Currently, the Fund has about $50,000 in it, but that money is committed to the journalism fellow and “Deliberately Indifferent.” We have a creative and innovative team of journalists and creators, and they have aspirations and dreams to bring you thorough and thoughtful news presented in exciting new ways across all media. As you hear in their reporting every day, they are masters at doing a lot with a little. 

Actor and martial arts master Bruce Lee famously said, “There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”  With your investment in the Local Journalism Innovation Fund, our team can reach for the stars, and in doing so, bring our world to your radio. 

Your donations to the Local Journalism Innovation Fund will go straight to our newsroom and come right back out of your speakers.

 

WBHM to launch podcast featuring in-depth reporting on Alabama’s prisons.

WBHM 90.3 FM is launching a podcast, “Deliberate Indifference: the story of Alabama’s prison crisis and the people inside it,” the product of reporter Mary Scott Hodgin’s in-depth research on Alabama’s prisons. The first episode will be available Wednesday, May 18. Listen at DeliberateIndifference.org or wherever podcasts are available.

Judge’s ruling a “sigh of relief” for families of transgender youth

A federal judge in Alabama ruled to block part of a law that makes it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to minors on Friday. Families with transgender kids tell WBHM they are cautiously relieved.

Transgender medication law in Alabama blocked by judge

The law made it a felony to prescribe gender-affirming puberty blockers and hormones to transgender minors. U.S. District Judge Liles Burke issued a preliminary injunction to stop the state from enforcing the medication ban, which took effect May 8, while a court challenge goes forward.

JeffCo Probate Judge: tightened security will delay voting returns in the primaries

Jefferson County’s chief election official is warning that a new voting security measure will delay returns from the May 24 primary elections.

Inside the manhunt for an escaped murder suspect and jailer

U.S. marshals and sheriff’s deputies led an 11-day manhunt for an Alabama murder suspect and jailer who were heavily armed and preparing for a shootout when they were captured.

Alabama jailbreak mystery deepens as manhunt ends with death

Jailer Vicky White was pronounced dead at a hospital after murder suspect Casey White gave up without a fight in Evansville, Indiana. The fugitives had spent more than a week on the run through three states.

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