The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) has announced the finalists for its 2023 Nonprofit News Awards, and Limestone Post and WFHB Community Radio are up for Journalism Collaboration of the Year for their local news series, Deep Dive: WFHB & Limestone Post Investigate.
Limestone Post is also a finalist for the Insight Award for Explanatory Journalism for its article by Rebecca Hill, “The Long Goodbye: Living with Alzheimer’s Disease.” Winners of both awards will be announced at the INN award ceremony (aka “the INNYs”) on August 23 in Philadelphia.
WFHB and Limestone Post began the year-long Deep Dive series in February. While the two local nonprofit media companies have collaborated in the past, this is the first long-term series featuring regular reporting. In this local news partnership, Limestone Post publishes an in-depth article about once a month on a consequential community issue, such as health, housing, or the environment, and WFHB covers related topics on its Wednesday news program at 5 p.m. or during the Big Talk program on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.
The Deep Dive series is made possible by a Community Impact Grant from the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. This grant was one of 15 Community Impact Grants awarded in January 2023. The “Community Impact Funding Initiative is a competitive grant program designed to fuel innovative ideas and lasting impact in Monroe County through funding opportunities that meet our community’s most pressing needs and seize its most compelling opportunities,” according to its website.
Deep Dive was created so that WFHB and Limestone Post could share resources to address important issues that directly impact residents in the community. This journalism collaboration allows us to take in-depth articles to the airwaves and bring more perspectives and voices to our readers.
Kade Young, WFHB’s news director, says the collaboration has bolstered its local news programming with high-quality, solutions-based journalism. “Working with Limestone Post’s writers, photographers, and editors has permitted us to create something greater than the sum of its individual parts,” Young says. “It has informed the news reporting process, created greater visibility for both parties, and granted us the ability to go above and beyond our regular news coverage by diving deep into the issues that matter most.”
Moreover, Young says, “We’ve received positive feedback from our listeners, donors, and community members. Overall, this partnership has allowed WFHB’s news department to exceed expectations, provide in-depth coverage on topics that are important for the community, and address big-picture, systemic issues that were previously missing in our local news coverage.”
Noelle Herhusky-Schneider, assistant news director at WFHB, says, “The partnership with Limestone Post has already been incredible, and we are genuinely seeing everything and more than we could have hoped for come from the collaboration.”
For Limestone Post, the collaboration has allowed us to increase the impact of our reporting. Deep Dive articles have seen 75 percent higher “Average Engagement Time” than our other stories, according to Google Analytics (GA4), and they’ve had a 177 percent increase in “Average Time on Page” (Universal Analytics). Likewise, Limestone Post’s website traffic immediately after the weekly WFHB broadcasts has improved, which suggests that WFHB’s radio listeners want to learn more about, and engage more with, the topic reported on.
Becky Hill, Limestone Post’s board president, says, “We appreciate the Community Foundation’s willingness to recognize the importance of community nonprofit news organizations and the role that they play in sharing how local nonprofits are addressing issues like housing, the opioid crisis, and community justice reform.”
The Community Foundation awards Community Impact Grants annually, in which applicants “are judged on a number of criteria and are expected to focus on solutions rather than symptoms.” Through the Community Impact Funding Initiative, “the Foundation seeks to invest in projects that are forward thinking, community changing in their implementation, practical in their application, and unique to the community.”
“In a time when traditional local news outlets are shrinking, smaller communities nationwide are experiencing a loss in consistent and comprehensive local news coverage,” says Community Foundation President and CEO Tina Peterson. “The Deep Dive series represented a unique opportunity for the Community Foundation to support a collaborative news project allowing two news organizations to work together in providing Monroe County residents with vital information, comprehensive coverage, and transparency.”
Because of this grant, the Deep Dive series has the support needed to cover many of these topics extensively, with a variety of interviews, analyses, and perspectives.
“This series has shined a light on issues important to our community, and we’re proud to see Limestone Post and WFHB receive recognition from INN for this collaborative effort,” adds Peterson.”
Contributions to the Local News Fund, managed by the Community Foundation, will support public education through the reporting of local news.
So far, WFHB has produced 20 Deep Dive reports (see below for links), and Limestone Post has published six articles: a two-part series on the housing crisis written by Steve Hinnefeld, with photography by Jim Krause; an investigation into opioid settlement funds, written by Rebecca Hill, photography by Benedict Jones; an inventory of the trees of Indiana University, by Laurie D. Borman, photography and gallery by Jeremy Hogan; a look at Indiana’s power grid, by Rebecca Hill, photography by Benedict Jones; and a deep dive into the sustainability of Lake Monroe and our drinking water, by Michael G. Glab, photography by Anna Powell Denton.
Upcoming stories include reports on education legislation and criminal justice reform, among others.
WFHB was the first nonprofit community radio station in Indiana when it first aired 30 years ago, and since then it has been broadcasting a variety of music, community-affairs, and award-winning news programming. Limestone Post launched in 2015 to publish long-form articles on topics ranging from the arts and outdoors to cultural and social justice issues. Since becoming a nonprofit in 2019, LP has focused even more on public-service and solutions journalism — rigorous reporting not only on problems in our community but also on the initiatives people have mounted to address those problems.
The Institute for Nonprofit News is a network of more than 425 independent, nonprofit news organizations dedicated to public service. “From local news to in-depth reporting on pressing global issues, members of the INN Network tell stories that otherwise would go untold — connecting communities, holding the powerful accountable, and strengthening democracy,” according to inn.org. Other members of INN based in Indiana include the Arnolt Center for Investigate Journalism, The Indiana Citizen, and WFYI Public Media.
To support local journalism, you can make tax-deductible donations directly to nonprofit outlets like WFHB and Limestone Post, or contribute to the Local News Fund managed by the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.
Deep Dive: WFHB & Limestone Post Investigate
“Deep Dive: WFHB & Limestone Post Investigate” is a journalism collaboration between WFHB Community Radio’s Local News Department and Limestone Post. It is made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.
In this year-long series, Limestone Post publishes an in-depth article about once a month on a consequential community issue, and WFHB covers related topics on its Wednesday news program at 5 p.m. or during the Big Talk program on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.
Here’s a list of the articles and broadcasts so far:
Limestone Post article by Steve Hinnefeld, published February 15:
Housing Crisis Solutions
Limestone Post article by Steve Hinnefeld, published March 15 | photography by Jim Krause
Opioid Settlement Fund Investigations
Limestone Post article by Rebecca Hill, published April 12 | photography by Benedict Jones
IU Tree Inventory
Limestone Post article by Laurie D. Borman, published May 17 | photography by Jeremy Hogan
Indiana Power Grid
Limestone Post article by Rebecca Hill, published June 21 | photography by Benedict Jones
Limestone Post article by Michael G. Glab, published August 16, 2023 | photography by Anna Powell Denton
Attack on Public Schools
Limestone Post article by Steve Hinnefeld, published September 13,2023 | photography by Garrett Ann Walters
- Part 1 (link coming soon)