PBS Hawaii Receives $1.2 Million from Local and National Funders To Launch the First Statewide Student News Network in the Nation

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The Hiki Nō (“can do”) attitude prevailed as major funders stepped up again with generous enthusiasm in support of PBS Hawaii’s plans to work with teachers and middle and high school students from all of Hawaii’s inhabited islands to create a collaborative network that will deliver community-based news and information to the entire state via PBS Hawaii’s broadcast and web platforms.

The impressive list of foundations and companies supporting Hiki Nō now includes major funding and services from The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation ($225K),  W.K. Kellogg Foundation ($195K), tw telecom Honolulu ($119K), with additional funding and support from Atherton Family Foundation,  Cooke Foundation, George Mason Fund, the Stupski Family Fund and Bays Deaver Lung Rose and Holma Attorneys at Law.  PBS Hawaii also received more than $7,000 from individuals’ donations.


“Hawaii has come up with a fresh answer for pressing needs in a changing world.  We’re grateful that prominent national and local organizations share our conviction:  Hiki Nō will be a model for creating 21st-century learners and communicators, and for filling gaps in community information and engagement,” said Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii President & CEO.

In January 2010 PBS Hawaii announced the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation were Hiki Nō’s founding funders providing $200K and $100K respectively to support the critical startup phase of Hiki Nō.   Commercial Data Systems was also named at that time as an early corporate partner of Hiki Nō.

The Hawaii Community Foundation announced in September it was the recipient of a $240,500 Knight Community Information Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  The grant would be given over a period of 3 years to PBS Hawaii for Hiki Nō, the first Hawaii grantee to ever receive funding from the Knight Foundation.

Meanwhile, broadcast and journalism veterans have been working with a teacher steering committee and the schools for quite some time in media camps and various training sessions.  Executive Producer Robert Pennybacker and Managing Editor Susan Yim are working with teachers and students on story ideas, show formatting and production details for the first newscast scheduled to air February 28, 2011 on PBS Hawaii.  Initially there will be one new newscast produced weekly with a slow but steady ramp up to 5 new shows weekly Monday-Friday with a sixth show that will air on weekends looking back on stories from the previous week.

PBS Hawaii will also air a documentary-style program in February that tracks the development of this ground-breaking media and education initiative that has received national support from respected educators and locally from the leadership of the D.O.E., Hawaii Association of Independent Schools and Hawaii’s Charter Schools.

For more information including FAQs, a list of participating schools, photos, video and comments from teachers and students go to https://www.pbshawaii.org/hikino/index.php

Submitted by Linda Brock at PBS Hawaii