Unlike many municipal elections, a Nashville transit referendum was a hot and heated subject. Here’s how WPLN cut through the noise.

The Challenge

The city of Nashville asked residents to vote on a 55-page program to overhaul the city public transit system. Because the referendum was so dense, the Nashville Public Radio newsroom was concerned about whether city residents fully grasped what they would be voting on, especially since the campaigns were advertising heavily.

“We had misgivings about the messaging on both sides of this referendum campaign and we wanted to help people understand what’s really part of the proposal,” said Tony Gonzalez, a reporter at the station. “We also wanted to do municipal coverage in a way that was interesting to people.”

The Approach

A few weeks before the voting period started, the newsroom decided to use Hearken to see if there were any important questions about the referendum that they weren’t already addressing in their extensive coverage. …

With an editorial staff of four and a coverage area of 30,000 square miles, here’s how Marfa Public Radio successfully launched their Hearken-powered series — and met some cool people along the way.

The Challenge

Marfa Public Radio in Marfa, Texas serves a geographical area the size of South Carolina — it stretches across a wide swath of the West Texas desert, from the state’s border with Mexico to the Permian Basin.

The large geographical area and small staff size (four people on their editorial staff and seven people at the station in total) were among the reasons the station turned to Hearken to power their project, West Texas Wonders. But to have a successful launch, they knew they had to get creative.

“It seemed like if we just announced the series on the air or in email, it wouldn’t necessarily do very much,” reporter Sally Beauvais said. …

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We wanted to give a huge congratulations to all of our partners who were recognized in a slew of awards in the last few months!

This post has been updated to reflect more awards won by our partner newsrooms, and will continue to be updated as we hear from more award winners.


Public Radio News Directors, Inc. honors the best work in public media and compete according to newsroom size, so you’ll see some repeat categories. These awards were handed out on early June.

KUT won 6 PRNDIs, the most of our partner newsrooms(!!) including the 1st place prize in Arts Feature for this Hearken-powered ATXplained story. …


Krystina Martinez

Engagement consultant⚡️ @wearehearken. Past: @keranews, @NPRWeekend, @AIRmedia New Voices '16. 🇲🇽 x 🇺🇸

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