Station Spotlight | KLRU-TV, Austin PBS

For the past three years, KLRU has engaged with local Austin schools through SRL and recruited students to be a part of their programming. This year on Election Day, KLRU aired interviews about the youth vote from two of our Texas Labs, Pflugerville High School and Communications Arts High School, on their Facebook Live show called Decibel. We recently asked KLRU Editorial Director Judy Maggio about the station’s partnership.

How does Student Reporting Labs program benefit your station’s short and long-term goals?

Having access to talented, young people, in tune with the community, has benefited us in many different ways. We always strive to bring diverse voices together and offer different perspectives on key issues. Adding the thoughts, ideas and talents of young people gives us a perspective that is often missing from local news coverage.

Long-term, KLRU has a goal to become the “public square” in Austin; the “go-to ” place to hold community gatherings meant to tackle important issues in our region. We’ve invited our SRL teens to be part of town halls in the past and it was so exciting to see them participate and truly add their point of view to the discussion. We look forward to them playing an even bigger role in the future.

Why do you think it’s important to include the perspectives of young people at your local station?  

It’s far too easy to get the “adult” perspective on stories impacting the Central Texas region. Young people have different life experiences, different backgrounds and different viewpoints than adults. Adding their perspective to any panel or story provides more
depth and insight on a topic.

What role do you think youth voice can play at every station?

PBS has a reputation for being the place older, white people turn to for information. We’ve seen through demographic research, that’s just a stereotype. Young people from all walks of life grew up on PBS programming.  SRL is a great tool to get our younger audience engaged at the local level at every PBS station.