June 10, 2020 / Wichita Kansas
Since day one, Planeta Venus’ purpose as a talk show on La Raza 99.7 FM, on its first public broadcast on November 2nd, 2015, was to inform the Latino community in Kansas about different opportunities, events, and resources in our cities. We realized that many people had moved to Kansas years ago and yet there were no ties to the community they now call home, partly because of the lack of information and understanding about how things work in this country and our state. Always grateful to the local station of La Raza 99.7 for giving us the space for our show during almost 4 years, Planeta Venus continued its work through social networks and now through the Internet Radio station www.planetavenus.online.
The work we have done has been constantly supported by members of the Latino community who follow our social media, participate, and share. All this work has created a great relationship that has begun to pay off, more than a recognition of the work done we celebrate the recognition of the contribution of Latino families to our Communities in Kansas.
More and more people, government and local businesses realize how important our Latino community is and that it has been forgotten for a long time. For this reason, just over a year ago Claudia Amaro, founder of Planeta Venus and owner of AB&C Bilingual Resources, LLC. was invited to collaborate on a project that would seek to improve local news coverage and restore the Wichita residents' trust to the local media. Thus, journalists from different local media: written press, radio and television came together to seek collaboration among all, share ideas and talent to improve local news coverage in Wichita.
After several months of meetings, a couple of group trips to other cities where this type of collaboration already exists, the collaboration of 7 press rooms and 3 community institutions including Planeta Venus under the direction of AB&C Bilingual Resources, LLC. finally took place in Wichita this week to help meet the urgent information needs during this global pandemic. The partnership of local newsrooms and community institutions has been named The Wichita Journalism Collaborative — a coalition formed to support and enhance quality local journalism.
Journalists have been working around the clock to cover the spread of and responses to COVID-19, as well as the massive economic consequences of the pandemic. Amy DeVault, project manager for the initiative and journalism instructor at Wichita State University, said she hopes these local organizations will share resources and work together in covering the challenges people will face in the coming year, as well as the local responses by government, organizations and individuals.
Joe Stumpe, editor of The Active Age, said formal collaboration among news organizations is a fairly new concept.
“We’re usually in competition with each other,” Stumpe said. “But in the current environment, anything that helps us do our job of keeping people informed is worth the effort.”
The initiative will launch with a $100,000 grant from Solutions Journalism Network, based in New York City. SJN encourages rigorous reporting not only on problems and challenges facing communities, but also on possible solutions.
“Solutions Journalism Network is very pleased to welcome the Wichita Collaborative as a member of the Local Media Project, an initiative that seeks to strengthen local media ecosystems through the creation of sustainable reporting collaboratives that address pressing challenges in their community from a solutions perspective,” said Liza Gross, vice president of practice change at Solutions Journalism Network.
“We are confident the Wichita Journalism Collaborative will make a unique contribution to the news landscape in Wichita and engage and inform audiences in innovative and transformational ways.”
-Liza Gross, Solutions Journalism Network
Media partners include: The Active Age, The Community Voice, The Journal (Kansas Leadership Center), KMUW, KSN-TV, The Sunflower and The Wichita Eagle. Community partners are Wichita Public Library, AB&C Bilingual Resources and The Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.
Rachel Schrag Sommerfeld, news director at KSN, said the station is excited to collaborate with other local journalists on in-depth reporting.
“Wichita already has a strong community of journalists, and this opportunity only helps us to broaden our coverage of important issues,” Sommerfeld said.
With a daily newspaper, the local public radio station and major television station on the mainstream end, DeVault said she thinks the mix of media partners is nearly perfect, with the larger organizations bringing reporting and editing prowess, as well as significant local audiences.
“But just as important, we have four smaller publications that serve niche audiences,” DeVault said. “These editors bring perspectives from their readers into every discussion and have important connections among their audiences. It’s exciting to watch all of them begin putting their strengths and ideas together to try to create something better than any one of them could alone.”