WXXI launches Innovation Trail, a major journalism initiative

If you have been listening to the radio lately, you have no doubt heard reports from the Innovation Trail emerging in our news stories. In fact, you may have caught yourself listening even more intently as topics like turbine wind power and the Marcellus Shale “hydrofracking” endeavors were discussed in fascinating depth. The response from these two somewhat controversial topics has been impassioned – which is exactly what the Innovation Trail reporting is hoping to achieve.

Through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), WXXI will lead a news group that will provide regional reporting for upstate New York. It is our goal to deliver focused, in-depth reporting and strengthen our position as the trusted source for coverage, debate and civil discussion on the issues that concern our region. In doing so, WXXI has added a team of journalists to explore innovative technologies and businesses that are helping to rebuild upstate New York’s economy. In collaboration with other upstate public broadcasters – WNED (Buffalo), WRVO (Oswego/Syracuse), WSKG (Binghamton) and WMHT (Albany), this effort will provide comprehensive reporting on the impact of investment in research and technology projects across the region.

Moreover, Innovation Trail will strengthen public media’s ability to meet the information needs of upstate New York communities while complementing the reporting that WXXI already dedicates to innovation and technology. What you have begun to hear is the start of a wide-ranging media effort that will help serve and inform our community in a way that only public broadcasting can. Reporters will file regular radio, TV and online news stories on emerging fields such as energy, nanotechnology, and photonics – topics that will no doubt become increasingly familiar as we watch our economy evolve with more leading-edge thinking.

As you travel throughout our region, be sure to stay tuned to public radio to discover what the next new development might be. Similarly, I encourage you to visit the Innovation Trail web site where you can listen to all of the reports and see what the team is working on right now.

In a time when other news agencies are cutting back on reporters, and the entire notion of journalism can be wrapped up in sound bites, you can trust public broadcasting to uphold the idea that thoughtful and thorough reporting is key to an informed and engaged community.