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A Journalism Honeymoon Going Strong After Three Months

Next week will mark the three month anniversary of the marriage between The St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio and the signs are looking good for a very long honeymoon period.

The storyline since bringing our two organizations together on December 11, 2013 is that we’ve seen a strong increase in audience to our web site, a deepening of engagement with people across social media and, most importantly, the journalism that we’ve produced has been compelling.

During these first few months of the honeymoon we identified ourselves as “St. Louis Public Radio and The Beacon” to signal that our two organizations are now operating as a single organization with one of the largest newsrooms in the St. Louis region. The next evolution of our marriage rolled out this week with our “News That Matters” campaign.

We’ve also returned to using St. Louis Public Radio as our brand name.

The use of the term “radio” shouldn’t suggest that the radio platform is our only focus. While radio (audio) is one of our core strengths, we feel the merging of The Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio is about connecting with people wherever and however they use media as they seek to gain a deeper understanding of our region and the world–be it through broadcast, websites, mobile devices, social media, or in person.

Over the months leading up to and in these first few month of the merger, we’ve been refining our public service pledge to our audience and stakeholders. These promises drive our work on a daily basis.

They are:

A SPACE WHERE FAIRNESS, FACTS AND CONTEXT PREVAILAs public media, our community relies on us to gather, investigate, focus on and prioritize the significant issues affecting our region — free from any external influencing forces, whether commercial, political or financial. We will delve deeply into critical issues, always striving to place these issues into an historic and factual context, and sharing insight from across our diverse community. Our work will counter ignorance with information, and prejudice with understanding. We will keep watch on powerful interests, challenge conventional wisdom and expose nonsense. We will create a unique and trusted space where the people of our region connect with each other, learn about each other, and come to understand each other, our nation and our world.

A FOCUS ON FOUR DISTINCT LINES OF INQUIRYWe will create content that offers insight, has long-term value, and has the potential to stimulate and promote conversation within four lines of inquiry:

  1. How We Learn: a focus on how education and lifelong learning can be transformative for our region;
  2. How We Grow: a focus on economic development, sustainable growth, jobs, urban planning and environmental issues;
  3. How We Live: a focus on the people, neighborhoods, culture and diversity of experience within our community;
  4. How We Decide: a focus on policy- and decision-making, and the mechanisms of elections, with an emphasis on information that helps people weigh options and take action.

FOR THE GOOD OF OUR COMMUNITYWe will help the people of our region understand this moment in our history, appreciate its culture, recognize its strengths, meet its challenges and embrace its opportunities.We will promote conversation and engagement that give rise to thoughtful and informed actions and solutions. We will promote democracy by providing open access to information our audiences need to understand the events and ideas that shape our world.

WE CONNECT WITH PEOPLE ACROSS MEDIAUsing all tools at our disposal, we will make our content available to our diverse audience in broadcasts, online, in person and through partnerships with other organizations.

These promises align with our belief that the St. Louis region benefits from a vigorous, forward-looking and public news organization. As public media, service to our community is the sole focus of our work. We believe unbiased, influence-free reporting is foundational to a strong and thriving region.

With this belief, our purpose is centered around the idea that we exist to help people become deeply informed about the issues that affect their lives, better prepared to make decisions and more engaged in our community.

This is why we brought our two organizations together and it’s our hope that we’re delivering on that purpose to you, however you experience us. If you agree we’re delivering on this worthwhile purpose, I want to encourage you to support the service that you use by making a gift of financial support during our Spring Membership Campaign that is beginning today. Thank you.

Tim Eby was the General Manager of St. Louis Public Radio from January of 2009 to September of 2020.