Public radio’s Midwest Newsroom, Missouri Independent partner to boost local reporting

A grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will support two journalists for a six-month fellowship 

By: - February 1, 2022 10:30 am

Midwest Newsroom is hiring two journalists for a six-month fellowship to work alongside reporters and editors at The Missouri Independent (Getty Images).

Public radio’s Midwest Newsroom and The Missouri Independent are launching a six-month project to bring more in-depth local reporting to the audiences of both news organizations.

With grant funding from the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Midwest Newsroom has hired two journalists for a six-month fellowship to work alongside reporters and editors at The Missouri Independent.

“We’re excited to partner with Midwest Newsroom and to bring two incredibly talented young journalists onto our team,” said Jason Hancock, editor-in-chief of The Missouri Independent. “This type of collaboration between nonprofit newsrooms makes both our organizations stronger.”

Holly Edgell, managing editor of the Midwest Newsroom, explained that, “in addition to working with The Missouri Independent, the fellows will collaborate with journalists around the region — through The Independent’s affiliates and the stations that comprise the Midwest Newsroom.”

Edgell added: “We’re building a virtual regional newsroom around a collective mission to provide context and depth, and give voice to people in our region.”

The Midwest Newsroom is a partnership between NPR and member stations in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska that focuses on investigative journalism and in-depth reporting. KCUR 89.3 in Kansas City is the lead station and the other partners are Iowa Public Radio, St. Louis Public Radio and Nebraska Public Media.

The Missouri Independent is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to relentless investigative journalism and daily reporting that sheds light on state government and its impact on the lives of Missourians. It is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers.

Reporting Fellow: Niara Savage

Niara Savage

Niara Savage has most recently been working at St. Louis Public Radio as the newsroom intern, producing stories for the web and for radio. She’s originally from Harleysville, a small Pennsylvania town northeast of Philadelphia. 

She is a 2020 graduate of Fisk University, where she studied political science. While a student at Fisk, Niara worked for local newspapers and contributed to the university’s Fisk Political Review.

Her work has also appeared in The North Star, on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, where she covered education and police reform in the Twin Cities. Savage’s debut Young Adult novel, “The Killing of Gregory Noble” explores the aftermath of racial violence.

Savage spent a year teaching fifth grade in St. Louis Public Schools and is a graduate student studying school psychology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She plans to work at the intersection of journalism and education to help make complex information about education policy, mental health and learning-related issues more accessible to empower families to make informed decisions.

Engagement Fellow: Samantha Horton

Samantha Horton

Over the past four years, Samantha covered business and economic issues in Indiana. During her time she’s covered a wide range of topics from genetically modified salmon to the United Auto Workers strike at General Motors. 

Previously, she worked as a local general assignment reporter for WNIN in Evansville, Indiana, covering local government and breaking news. In 2016, Samantha traveled to Ukraine with co-workers to cover the 25th year of independence for the country. She also worked with Side Effects Public Media reporting on health issues in Southern Indiana and Western Kentucky.

Her work has aired on NPR and garnered awards, including a Regional Edward R. Murrow. A story she’s proud to have covered in her career is the first majority women’s team competing in the Indy 500 and the efforts to diversify the sport.  

Samantha decided to become a journalist after interning at WNIN. One of her favorite parts of reporting is talking with people and telling their stories. She believes that hearing personal stories can help the audience better understand current issues and policies.

Samantha is from Temple, Texas, but moved to Indiana to study political science, international studies and communication at the University of Evansville. During her time in college she swam for the Purple Aces and worked at the school’s radio station, WUEV. 

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