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UE center, TV station partnering on COVID research

(photo courtesy of the University of Evansville)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The Center for Innovation & Change at the University of Evansville is partnering with WNIN, a nonprofit public broadcasting station in southwest Indiana. The university says the partnership will support research projects conducted by several classes focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on seven states in the Midwest.

Through the partnership, UE students in ChangeLab courses will conduct the research, which the university says will generate data-driven reporting for an in-depth look at how states responded to the pandemic and the lessons that can be learned for future large-scale disasters.

WNIN will add reporting, research and data capacity to its nationally recognized, in-depth storytelling. Reports from collaborators in other states will also enhance the coverage by WNIN lead reporters Sarah Kuper and Steve Burger.

Additionally, the university says bilingual reporting from the podcast ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? will add coverage of one of the under-reported communities most affected by the pandemic.

“Since the national news organizations tend to only report what is happening on the coasts, we know that the real story of the Midwest’s response to COVID-19 needs to come from a Midwest organization,” said Steve Burger, vice president of radio at WNIN. “With the resources UE is committing to this project and the unique reporting of ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest?, we’re confident that we will produce coverage of which WNIN, UE, and the community can be proud.”

UE says ChangeLabs are semester-long innovative courses that allow students to create positive change for local businesses and the community. The ChangeLab courses for the project are focused in the areas of journalism and math and will be coached by communications professor Tamara Wandel and math professor Darrin Weber.

“We are thrilled that our interdisciplinary ChangeLabs continue to provide creative, problem-solving initiatives for the region,” said Erin Lewis, interim executive director for UE’s Center for Innovation & Change. “WNIN’s willingness to partner with students is deeply appreciated, and we hope this is the first of many projects with them.”