KQED’s QUEST Science Series Expands Nationally with $2.5 Million National Science Foundation Grant

Grant will support a six-station public media science reporting collaborative 

Contact: Sevda Eris, 415-553-2835, seris@kqed.org

San Francisco, CA  — KQED, public media serving Northern California, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a two-year collaborative multimedia science reporting initiative, QUEST Beyond Local. The grant will support KQED and five other public media organizations in creating content under the theme of “Science of Sustainability” on television, radio and the Web, along with educational assets and community outreach. KQED’s partner organizations collaborating on the project are: QUEST Nebraska (NET, Nebraska); QUEST North Carolina (UNC-TV, North Carolina); QUEST Northwest (KCTS 9, Seattle); QUEST Ohio (WVIZ Ideastream, Cleveland); and QUEST Wisconsin (WPT, WPR, ECB,ICS, Wisconsin).

QUEST Beyond Local is scheduled to launch in January.

QUEST began more than six years ago as an experiment in multimedia science journalism and education designed to deliver content and foster engagement using a range of media from television to smart phones and everything in between,” said John Boland, president of KQED. “It has been both a great success and a great learning experience, and we are grateful to the National Science Foundation for making it possible for KQED to share what we’ve learned with public broadcasters across the country for the benefit of their communities.”

The grant and project build on prior NSF funding and a nearly $1 million Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant awarded in April 2011 to KQED’s Emmy award-winning science and environment series, QUEST. That grant supported KQED’s efforts to work with partner media organizations to train producers on its multimedia science reporting model. The grant also enabled pilot productions of science and environment stories on television, radio and the Web with consistency in tone and style, while highlighting local science stories of interest for each partner’s community. The training included reporting guidelines for magazine-style television episodes; in-depth radio reports on environmental topics; the Web-only series Science on the SPOT, and Web extras like blog posts and photo slideshows.

QUEST recently enjoyed the results of this multistation collaboration with an award for the “Best Online Video Series” from the BLUE Ocean Film Festival in Monterey (September 24-27, 2012) for its Science on the SPOT series. The winning online video entries featured two videos produced last year for the pilot phase of the QUEST Beyond Local project – Soundwaves: Listening to Orcas by KCTS 9 Seattle and Rendezvous with a Horseshoe Crab by WHYY Philadelphia. It also featured QUEST Northern California’s Marine Sanctuary Patrol Flight by KQED San Francisco.

“We are pleased to see how QUEST, with its history of being organizationally and technologically innovative, is expanding its science reporting model,” said Valentine Kass, acting deputy division director in NSF’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings. “QUEST Beyond Local builds new capacity in local and national media channels to address current science and environmental issues with local authority and national relevance.”

“We are delighted to partner with our public media colleagues in San Francisco and across the country on this important project,” said Maurice “Moss” Bresnahan, president and chief executive officer of KCTS 9 in Seattle. “The content we’ll create together is designed not only for general audiences but for classroom use as well, and we’re excited about the impact it will have on so many levels.”

The QUEST Beyond Local project will hire a new executive producer, a managing editor and a coordinating producer to lead the multistation collective in the production of:
• 18 science and environment stories for six 30-minute television broadcasts and Web distribution
• 18 Web companion pieces to television broadcasts (maps, photos, slideshows, more)
• 20 science and environment stories for radio broadcast and other distribution
• A 12-part Web video series
• Text reporting from community contributors
• Corresponding educational assets; educator training on using the assets
• Outreach, including community events, social media and public relations

QUEST Beyond Local will start broadcasting new content in the fall of 2013.

About QUEST:
Launched in February 2007, QUEST is KQED’s largest multimedia project to date. Since its inception, QUEST has reached more than 60 million viewers and listeners through its traditional television and radio broadcasts and growing Web audience. QUEST’s ultimate aim is to raise science literacy throughout the Bay Area and beyond, inspiring audiences to discover and explore the latest science and environmental news, trends and issues. In addition to continued support for QUEST from the National Science Foundation, funding for KQED’s science education and reporting is provided by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Mary Van Voorhees Fund, the Follis Family Fund, the David B. Gold Foundation, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Vadasz Family Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, the Amgen Foundation and the George G. and Jeanette A. Stuart Charitable Trust, and the members of KQED.

About KQED:
KQED (kqed.org) has served Northern California for more than 50 years and is affiliated with NPR and PBS. KQED owns and operates public television stations KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area), KQED Plus (San Jose/Bay Area) and KQET 25 (Watsonville/Monterey); KQED Public Radio (88.5 FM San Francisco and 89.3 FM Sacramento); the interactive platforms kqed.org and KQEDnews.org; and KQED Education. KQED Public Television is the producer of local and national series such as QUEST; Check, Please! Bay Area; This Week in Northern California; Truly CA; and Essential Pépin. KQED’s digital television stations include KQED 9, KQED Plus, KQED Life, KQED World, KQED Kids and KQED V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast. KQED Public Radio, home of Forum KQED News and The California Report, is one of the most-listened-to public radio stations in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service delivering more than eighteen local weekday newscasts and news features. KQED Interactive provides KQED’s cross-platform news service, KQEDnews.org, as well as several popular local blogs, video and audio podcasts, and a live radio stream at kqed.org. KQED Education brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and the general public through workshops, community screenings and multimedia resources.