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Beacon-KWMU merger: Journalism re-imagined

Editor’s note: This is a preview of a story that appears in the winter 2014 print issue of Gateway Journalism Review.

When the St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio cinched their deal to merge their two newsrooms in December, they stepped right into the front lines of how old and new media are re-imagining journalism.

The combined news organization (http://news.stlpublicradio.org), which will have a hefty three dozen-plus editorial employees, promises not only to alter the nature of journalism in St. Louis, but it also will chart new pathways for media entrepreneurs around the country  exploring ways to make their startups sustainable.

“If we get it right,” Beacon founding editor Margie Freivogel said early last year, “we have the beginning of a blueprint of how to create a vigorous news organization that serves a region and takes advantage of the assets of public media. I think it’s a very important possibility.”

Freivogel will be editor of the combined news operation.

Jan Schaffer is the executive director of J-Lab, “a journalism catalyst that funds new approaches to journalism, researches best practices and shares practical insights gained from years of working with news creators and news gatherers.”