QUEST Beyond Local

Monday, October 1, 2012 to Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Resource Type:
Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Broadcast Media, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media
General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists
Ecology, forestry, and agriculture | General STEM | History/policy/law | Technology

QUEST Beyond Local is a consortium of six public media providers across the country coming together in a unique collaborative structure to foster widespread STEM literacy for general audiences; support formal and informal education outcomes in the sciences; and revive ailing science and environment journalism in the face of its rapid decline. QUEST Beyond Local is built on the success of the local, cross-editorial QUEST model, in which media making professionals from multiple disciplines--radio, television, web, and especially education--collaborate to distribute high-quality content to general and underserved audiences. Two years ago, KQED (serving Northern California) introduced a capacity-building effort with five other public media stations serving markets across the nation: Seattle (KCTS), Wisconsin (WPT/WPR), Nebraska (NET), Cleveland (ideastream), and North Carolina (UNC-TV). On the heels of this pilot process, QUEST Beyond Local will expand production in all markets and focus its multimedia efforts around the theme "Science of Sustainability" so as to achieve maximum effect on critical STEM outcomes in formal and informal education settings, and to foster science/environment literacy among a wide general audience. QUEST Beyond Local is defined by an organizationally and technologically innovative model of content creation: a newsroom structured according to a hub and spoke model; with common branding, technical, and style guidelines; and with a central coordinating and editorial office liaising between local production teams. Under the guidance of this central office, the collaborative seeks to create content with both local authority and national relevance. Building on existing media impact research, and previous research and evaluation of QUEST, research firm Rockman et al will apply evaluation theory to determine: (1) the structures and strategies to a successful STEM collaborative that contribute to a greater understanding of and engagement in science and environment topics; and (2) determine the interests, priorities, and media consumption habits of local and national STEM audiences. Primary project deliverables include three diverse multimedia packages for general and professional audiences, focusing on three main themes and anchored in STEM disciplines. In total, the three packages will include: 18 television segments; 6 half-hour television programs; 20 radio reports; 18 "web extras" (slide shows, maps, etc.); 12 web-based videos; 144 blog posts; 18 education "explainers"; 5 educator trainings; and a comprehensive distribution and social media campaign. All efforts will be supported by at least 18 science community partners, including zoos, museums, aquariums, research centers, and others. Through these efforts, the collaborative seeks to repair the systemic damage done by years of neglect to science/environment journalism--particularly the marked decline in this type of coverage over the last decade. This decline is perhaps related to the observed disconnect between the public and scientific knowledge, despite a demonstrated public appetite for science content and educators' reported desire for more resources and professional development opportunities focused on STEM topics. At a time when an evolving workforce and economy increasingly demand STEM skills and environmental literacy, QUEST Beyond Local will contribute resources to address these challenges.

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Team Members

Sue Ellen McCannPrincipal Investigator
Shannon VickeryShannon VickeryCo-Principal Investigator
Kathy BissenKathy BissenCo-Principal Investigator

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