This morning’s Texas-Pennsylvania jointly reported broadcast piece is the perfect kickoff to what we hope will be a more common practice in 2012: collaborations with your fellow StateImpact states, or with other local news organizations. From Texas/PA:
Gas and oil well blowouts are the stuff of legend in Texas. But in Pennsylvania, a state with little modern experience with wells, a surge in drilling has some residents on edge. The thought of a geyser of fire erupting in an otherwise peaceful pasture can sound like a nightmare.
“(A blowout) scares the heck out of me,” said Skip Roupp , the Deputy Emergency Management Director of Bradford County in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Experts told him to expect one major blowout for every thousand wells drilled. The well count in Pennsylvania is already at 3,000.
“We’re due for a major blowout at some point,” Roupp said.
And when a blowout does happen, Pennsylvania has been warning its local fire departments to, in essence, let it burn. Putting it out will be left to crews from Texas.
For some states, this will be easier than others. Texas and Pennsylvania have chosen a beat that most naturally lends itself to cross-state storytelling, since there are several examples of direct connections in their respective energy industries.
So if you’re in an education or a jobs and economy state, it may take a few more conversations before getting to a great idea, but we should aim to go that way. For the February monthly challenge (which you’ll get a head start on since January’s challenge-less), we will focus on collaboration. I’m getting all your state accounts set up so you can easily email other states’ reporters, i.e. Texas@StateImpact.org to Pennsylvania@StateImpact.org … and we’re happy to facilitate any conference calls to get y’all talkin’, too.
Be thinking about themes of coverage that might be more interesting or additive if you had the help of another state that’s on your beat. Or get even more creative and think about how you might work with a StateImpact state on a different beat. Education and jobs are inextricably linked, no?
Also, WLRN and the Miami Herald’s ongoing partnership has served us well so far, giving StateImpact pieces yet another place to run. So if your local papers or other news organizations want to start using our stuff more, give me a call and we can talk through some parameters for partnerships.