Guest Author: Lisa Hermann, AZ SciTech Festival Writer
Innovation continues to gain momentum across the state, and KJZZ is working to make sure we’re all part of the wave. The addition of Innovation Reporter Andrew Bernier this past summer is just the first step of a broader strategy to connect the KJZZ listening audience to a wide swath of stories about our state’s dynamic web of education, research, and industry in the STEM fields.
The station’s Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Stations, Lou Stanley, is announcing a funding award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that will allow the valley-based station to collaborate with KUAT – Tucson, KAWC-Yuma, and KNAU-Flagstaff in the creation of anintrastate network devoted to reporting on multiple dimensions of Arizona innovation. Stanley explains the CPB funding has come through an effort to match a funding commitment from the Arizona Community Foundation following a conversation started over two years ago about the need to inform the public about STEM in our state. “We asked ourselves, ‘ What would it take to make science and technology reporting happen on a statewide level?’” The idea gelled to create a team of five dedicated, full-time, reporters, each at a regional desk. Additional funds from Arizona Commerce Authority and St. Luke’s Health Initiatives are helping to turn the dream into a reality.
The plan is to weave elements from the innovation reporting team into the local, original content shows that currently run on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. But Stanley expects KJZZ to expand frequency of these shows in 2015, with ‘a huge increase in coverage’ of the sciences, technologies, health, and health research here in Arizona. “Biofuel research, breakthroughs in cancer treatments, what’s happening at TGen, and so many great stories of innovation across our state,” Stanley describes. “These are the stories we want people to connect with.”
KJZZ is a distinguished 2014-15 Bronze partner of the Arizona SciTech Festival.