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The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Web site's caption states: "President Lyndon B. Johnson opens the first official meeting of the CPB Board, April 26, 1968, in the White House Cabinet Room."(Credit: CPB)

Good news for journalists?

As newspapers across the country have been slashing jobs the past few years, journalists have struggled to find (or keep) jobs.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting expects to create about fifty journalism jobs across the country this year, The New York Times blogged.

In a press release on its Web site, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting announced March 25 it would be funding a local journalism project.    The initiative is to “increase original local reporting capacity in seven regions around the country, and a planning project to develop an open information architecture to harness the collective power of the public media network.”

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a private, non-profit organization.

The CPB plans to create seven Local Journalism Centers, each with a team of multimedia journalists.  Each team will create in-depth reports of what’s going on in the seven areas.

Five of the regional areas that will get Local Journalism Centers are: the Southwest, which will focus on cultural shifts; The Plains, on agribusiness; Upstate New York, on innovation technology and how it stimulates development; the Upper Midwest, on reinventing the industrial heartland; and Central Florida, on health care issues.  The CPB also plans tio set up centers in the South and the Northwest, but specifics aren’t available yet.

“The Local Journalism Centers will enhance public media’s ability to meet the information needs of local communities at a time when access to high quality, original reporting is declining,” Patricia Harrison, the CEO and President of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting said in a press release.

Reports from the LJCs will be made available to the public nationally through television, radio, Internet, social media, and other outlets.

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The CPB is investing $10.5 million in the project, and the centers are expected to be self-sustaining within two years.

“In a time when newspapers and other media organizations are cutting back or disappearing altogether, public media is strengthening its commitment to journalism,” said PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger in the release.

The investment into journalism jobs is welcome news.  As The 2010 State of the News Media’s report found, about 15,000 full-time newspaper reporting and editing jobs have been cut in the past three years.  Newsrooms shrunk by 27% in that time, the report found.

“To put it another way, newspapers headed into 2010, devoting $1.6 billion less annually to news than they did three years earlier,” the report said.

As The Tampa Bay Online reported, the hiring process has started for Florida’s Local Journalism Center.

StinkyJournalism has contacted the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for comment and will post with any response.

Hat tip: James Hashek, The University of New Orleans

UPDATE: 10:37 AM EST: Tim Isgitt, senior vice president of communications and government affairs for the CPB, wrote in an e-mail to StinkyJournalism that the south and northwest LJC locations will be announced in the summer most likely.  April 14 is the deadline for proposals.

Isgitt explained the idea for the LJCs:  “The idea for this initiative evolved in response to discussions at Aspen Institute meetings last year on the future of public media.  We recognized the impact on communities of the on-going loss of local reporting.  Building on public media’s strengths in journalism and our nation-wide network of stations, we saw an opportunity to serve local communities by fostering collaboration and building journalism capacity to provide deep coverage on issues of importance to regions and communities.”

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