KUAR 89.1, UALR’s public radio station, along with its content partners in a regional journalism collaboration (RJC), is pleased to announce that Bobby Ampezzan will lead the newly created Natural State News as the project’s managing editor.
In his new role, Ampezzan will oversee three reporters focusing on long form reporting about education, health and energy, with a focus on rural Arkansas.
Natural State News is being funded through a $278,300 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Reporters will be based at KUAR in Little Rock, KUAF in Fayetteville, and KASU in Jonesboro.
A partner manager will also be hired for the project to oversee fundraising and administrative duties.
A native of the Detroit area, Ampezzan has been with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2008, serving as a feature writer for his first four years with the newspaper. He has been editor of the Sunday High Profile section since 2012.
Before that, he worked as a reporter for The Times-Herald in Port Huron, Michigan. His reporting has also been featured in the Oxford American and the Guardian newspaper.
A lover of public broadcasting, Ampezzan was also an intern at WNYC in New York, helping to produce the Leonard Lopate Show.
He has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Arkansas and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from Dickinson College.
“We’re extremely excited to bring Bobby on board to lead our newly-funded RJC, which I think will bring our state coverage to a new level,” said KUAR News Director Michael Hibblen, who represents KUAR on the editorial board that will oversee the collaboration. “His background in journalism, passion for public broadcasting and the mission of this project, along with his experience overseeing and bringing out the best in reporters should serve this collaboration well.”
The RJC formally establishes reporting partnerships among public radio stations in Arkansas, including KUAR in Little Rock, KUAF in Fayetteville, KASU in Jonesboro, and KTXK in Texarkana. The stations have shared news material since 2009, but this furthers the goal of creating more long form, enterprise and investigative reporting.
Also partnering with the radio stations are the Arkansas Educational Television Network, El Latino Spanish language newspaper, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock Institute on Race and Ethnicity.