WBHM’s Local Journalism Innovation Fund
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.
Since then, donors have made two exciting things possible at WBHM.
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 join our newsroom covering education issues in Birmingham and across Alabama. And today, Kyra Miles is that reporter.
Several other major donors were interested in funding a podcast. With their backing, on May 18, 2022 we launched “Deliberate Indifference,” a seven-part podcast that that tells the story of how Alabama’s prisons became among the most violent in the nation.
These donations made it possible for Mary Scott Hodgin, who was awarded Large Market Reporter of the Year by the Alabama Broadcasters Association in 2021 and 2022, to get to the real heart of the story. It funded a website with supporting documents to be created. It paid for editors and fact checkers. And, among so many other things, it provided for an original music score.
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.