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Evening Edition with NPR White House Correspondent Ayesha Rascoe

Tonight we celebrate public radio and join together to support our local newsroom!

Our goal is to raise $100,000 that will be dedicated to WBHM’s Local Journalism Innovation Fund, which will support reporting, podcasts, and other storytelling projects in Birmingham and Alabama.

We’re thrilled to be joined by Ayesha Rascoe, distinguished journalist and NPR's White House reporter. And on this evening, WBHM's Janae Pierre will talk with Ayesha about this historic election year and give us insights on reporting stories that affect our lives.

All of us here are part of a growing community that values news and information that is unbiased, fair, honest, accurate, and free from commercial and political influence. In this age and especially this year that was 2020, that is a very valuable commodity. Thank you for valuing it too and contributing to support our local newsroom.

*Please note that there is NO AUCTION component to this event.*

Special Guest

  • Ayesha Rascoe

    NPR White House Reporter

    Ayesha Rascoe

    NPR White House Reporter

    Ayesha Rascoe is a White House reporter for NPR. In her current role, she covers breaking news and policy developments from the White House. Rascoe also travels and reports on many of President Trump's foreign trips, including his 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and his 2018 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast. Prior to joining NPR, Rascoe covered the White House for Reuters, chronicling President Barack Obama's final year in office and the beginning days of the Trump administration. Rascoe began her reporting career at Reuters, covering energy and environmental policy news, such as the 2010 BP oil spill and the U.S. response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011. She also spent a year covering energy legal issues and court cases. She graduated from Howard University in 2007 with a B.A. in journalism. (Photo: Allison Shelley/NPR )

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  1. Welcome by Chuck Holmes, Executive Director and General Manager
  2. Let's make our signature cocktail with Dread River Distilling Company!
  3. Leaderboard check with Chuck Holmes and A SPECIAL SNEAK PREVIEW
  4. WBHM News Director Gigi Douban on the impact of the Local Journalism Innovation Fund
  5. NPR's Ayesha Rascoe talks covering the news in a year like 2020 with WBHM's Janae Pierre
  6. Audience questions
  7. Did we make our goal? Let's find out!

About the Local Journalism Innovation Fund

Donations to WBHM are used to cover the general expenses of the station — everything from the power bill to salaries to the cost of NPR programming.

But earlier this year, we were approached by several Birmingham-area benefactors who had a different idea for their donations. They wanted to invest their money in our newsroom. Specifically, they wanted to invest in local reporting, local podcasts, and other local news initiatives. That’s how the Local Journalism Innovation Fund was born.

One generous couple wanted to create a recurring newsroom fellowship for young journalists. They made it possible for us to apply to Report for America with the hopes of getting an RFA corps member to spend 2021 in our newsroom covering education issues in Birmingham and across Alabama. We should find out in December if we’ve been approved to be a host newsroom.

Several other major donors were interested in ushering us into the podcast arena. With their backing, production is underway for “Deliberately Indifferent” in which our reporter Mary Scott Hodgin explores the systematic and deadly problems in Alabama’s prisons. A preview of that major journalistic undertaking will be coming soon.

Currently, the Fund has about $50,000 in it, but that money is committed to the journalism fellow and “Deliberately Indifferent.” We have a creative and innovative team of journalists and creators, and they have aspirations and dreams to bring you thorough and thoughtful news presented in exciting new ways across all media. As you hear in their reporting every day, they are masters at doing a lot with a little.

Actor and martial arts master Bruce Lee famously said, “There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”  With your investment in the Local Journalism Innovation Fund, our team can reach for the stars, and in doing so, bring our world to your radio. 

What would $100,000 do for the WBHM newsroom?

This list consists of basic items every newsroom should have. But to us, this is a dream list, our pie-in-the-sky list. When you add it all up, it comes to more than $260,000. The money you donate toward our Local Journalism Innovation Fund during Evening Edition with Ayesha Rascoe will get us part of the way there go straight to our newsroom to fill these needs.  

Local government reporter - $65,000 (salary plus benefits)

Investigative reporter - $65,000 (salary plus benefits)

Digital editor - $55,000 (salary plus benefits)

Report for America fellow – around $26,000

Podcast producer - $25,000

Newscast producer - $20,000

Additional recording kits - $1,200 each

A quality camera to shoot photos and video - $1,200

Hotspots for each reporter - $500

Software to host multiple guests remotely - $450/year

Additional boom poles so that each reporter will have his/her own - $250 

Phone tripods for live videos and photos - $100

Lavalier mics - $80 each