Oklahoma Watch is one of five news organizations selected by PBS’ news documentary series Frontline to work jointly on investigative projects over the coming year.

The partnerships, announced Thursday, are the first in Frontline’s Local Journalism Initiative, which is designed to strengthen local investigative reporting in areas where more enterprise journalism is needed.

Over the next year, Frontline will provide comprehensive support to Oklahoma Watch in its coverage of education, which is led by reporter Jennifer Palmer, working often with visual journalist Whitney Bryen. Frontline’s role will include journalistic help and guidance, connecting with new audiences and developing sustainable models of investigative news.

Other Frontline partners will be the Tampa Bay Times, Rocky Mountain PBS, New Mexico PBS (KNME-TV) and Milwaukee PBS. Their focus will be on environmental hazards and inequality, mental health and a changing rural economy.

A Frontline news release said the initiative is supported by grants of $3 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and $1 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The partnering organizations were selected from more than 80 applicants.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us – to grow and to have impact,” said David Fritze, executive editor of Oklahoma Watch. “Frontline is an outstanding program and team and a powerful force in investigative journalism. We look forward to working closely with them and to making that relationship a public service for audiences across Oklahoma and beyond.”

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