Pioneering Nonprofit News Operation Gains Approval
UMSL Chancellor Thomas George (center) beams as Richard Weil (left), chair of the St. Louis Beacon Board of Directors, and Dean Mills, dean of the MU School of Journalism, celebrate the integration of the Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio news staffs. UMSL and MU are creating academic and research programs based around the news operation.
Merger of St. Louis Public Radio and St. Louis Beacon gains approval by board of curators.
Newsrooms around the country are becoming quieter as layoffs and closures silence once-thriving organizations, but a University of Missouri–St. Louis site in midtown St. Louis will soon be bustling as its population of journalists doubles.
St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU and the St. Louis Beacon will integrate their news staffs, under an agreement that will take effect in December. St. Louis Public Radio is the local NPR affiliate, and is licensed by UMSL. The Beacon is a nonprofit online news service established in 2008 by veteran journalists and overseen by a board of directors. The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri System approved the consolidation Nov. 22.
The combined news staff will be located at UMSL at Grand Center, 3651 Olive Street, which houses university classrooms and St. Louis Public Radio. Grand Center is the region’s largest arts and entertainment district.
The consolidation creates an innovative model for a multiplatform news operation that provides in-depth coverage of urban events and issues. The endeavor will allow longtime journalists to practice their craft, while providing training for student journalists at both UMSL and the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. Other academic research opportunities are also being considered.