KCRW: Reporting the Truth, Not the ‘Alternate Facts’


In the current political environment, there is a staggering amount of varying information and news being spread throughout the media.

By Simon Balkenstig

Many mainstream media outlets promote their own agendas and their own causes, which are beneficial to them and the sponsors behind them. It can be difficult to find news stories that are purely informative and haven’t been edited by people who want to make sure that the stories go along with their sponsors and feeds into their readers’ already held point of view.

I sat down with one of the producers for KCRW to ask her questions on their reporting style, what makes the news, and how being a non-profit radio station affects how they report the news.

KCRW is a non-profit radio station and a part of NPR, operating in Southern California. They report based on how many people their stories will affect here in our local community, including everything from music to public policy. Connecting to a broader conversation plays a big part in their news reporting as well. The purpose of their reporting is to provide us with factual and informative storytelling in a semi-provocative way. KCRW does this by finding human relationships that interact with the news being told. This is so the listeners can walk away feeling more connected to a story than they might have otherwise.

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During my interview I asked about the perks of being a non-profit when reporting news and if it allows them more freedom and she said “What’s good is that you’re just…unaffiliated. You don’t have to worry about how something you report on will affect the money that you get, or the partnership you have.” With everything going on in the world right now it is important to have organizations and companies that are able to report on it without having to make sure that they don’t upset their sponsors.

She also mentioned the importance of having a separation between the advertising side, and the news reporting side, which can be difficult in most media. But she stressed the importance of transparency within the radio station and how that is always something that they bear in mind. “If we have a guest on air that also is on our advisory board, we make sure that it is clear in the beginning, so the listeners know about it, and to make it clear as to why that person is there.”

The Human Face of Drought: In partnership with Pacific Standard Magazine and Human Rights Watch is a live broadcast by KCRW that is happening this month. During this broadcast they will be bringing on experts in the field, investigative reporters and human rights practitioners to discuss the human face of climate change, as well as the consequences of the drought here in California.


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