Beacon-St. Louis Public Radio a National Model

Special to GJR

Editor’s Note: William H. Freivogel, publisher of GJR, is married to Beacon editor Margaret W. Freivogel.  He also was a founder of the Beacon and is a contributor.

St. Louis Public Radio and the St. Louis Beacon announced Thursday that they are moving ahead with their previously announced merger plan and that final action by the University of Missouri Board of Curators could come as soon as November.

The merger is thought to be the first of its kind in the nation – combining an NPR affiliate with an online daily news organization.

As the merger discussions moved ahead over the past year, the two news organizations joined with the University of Missouri School of Journalism and UMSL’s College of Fire Arts and Communication to add a major academic component. Mizzou’s Reynolds Journalism Institute researches sustainable multi-platform journalism models for metropolitan areas.

Tim Eby, general manager of St. Louis Public Radio, said in a statement that the merger of the Beacon and his organization would create a newsroom with “nearly 40 news and content staff producing audio, text, video, data, and photography across digital and broadcast platforms.”

Margaret Wolf Freivogel, editor of the Beacon, said in a note to Beacon readers that the merger was a response to the digital revolution that “has wrought huge changes in the way you get news and in the way we report it. News organizations are no longer defined solely by their means of production — no longer just as a radio station or newspaper…. Working together, the Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio will connect with you on air, online, in person, through social media and in other ways.”

She added that, “Together, the Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio, with insight from the university, will be building a new economic model for responsible journalism. That effort can make St. Louis a national leader in the reinvigoration of local news.”