April 5, 2010
"Patchwork nation" Receives $450,000 Knight Foundation Grant for Coverage for 2010 Elections
PROJECT IS A COLLABORATION WITH PBS NEWSHOUR, POLITICO, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR AND WNYC RADIO
(Arlington, VA - April 1, 2010) The PBS NEWSHOUR announced today that it has received a grant of $450,000 from the Knight Foundation. The grant will support "Patchwork Nation" a collaborative multimedia, multi-platform project that uses demographic data to divide the nation's counties into 12 community types to better understand the socio-economic, political and cultural shifts coursing through the country.
Originally launched by the Christian Science Monitor as a way to cover the 2008 presidential election, the project joined forces with PBS NEWSHOUR in Spring 2009 and evolved into a larger system for monitoring broader change, in particular, the economic crisis. The number of project partners has also grown and now includes Politico and WNYC Radio. NPR will also participate in efforts to cover the mid-term elections. This is the third grant to Patchwork Nation from the Knight Foundation. The new grant runs from April 1, 2010 through the end of December 2011.
"Patchwork Nation" explores what is happening in the United States by examining different kinds of communities over time. Using demographic characteristics, such as income level, racial composition, employment and religion, the efforts divides the America's 3,141 counties into twelve different types of communities: Boom Towns, Campus & Careers, Emptying Nests, Evangelical Epicenters, Immigration Nation, Industrial Metropolis, Military Bastions, Minority Central, Monied Burbs, Mormon Outposts, Service Worker Centers and Tractor Country.
"The project has found that any talk of there being a single ‘American' economy or political culture misses the mark," explained Dante Chinni, Project Director for Patchwork Nation. "The true picture of the United States in 2010 is far more nuanced and complex."
For its next incarnation, Patchwork Nation will use the same demographic clustering analysis to organize the country's 435 congressional districts into distinct types with the hope of being able to better observe and understand the 2010 midterm elections. This analysis will exist alongside the current county analysis.
In the fall of 2010, the book Patchwork Nation: The 12 Distinct Types of Communities That Make Up America (and What They Can Teach Us) by Dante Chinni and James Gimpel will be published by Gotham Books, a division of Penguin. The book focuses on using the 12 community types to examine and forecast changes in America's political, economic and cultural makeup in the coming decade.
Log onto the "Patchwork Nation" website, to learn more about each of the 12 community types and explore a county by county interactive map of key economic indicators like unemployment, foreclosures and gas prices, as well as demographic and political data.
For an on-the-ground picture of what's it like to live in the different communities, viewers can read posts from community bloggers and watch reports from PBS NewsHour partners at local public broadcasting stations. Visitors can also contribute their own views by submitting their photos to the Patchwork Nation Flickr group become a fan on Facebook or follow the project on Twitter.
PBS NEWSHOUR is seen five nights a week on more than 315 PBS stations across the country and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, in association with WETA Washington, DC, and THIRTEEN in New York. Major corporate funding for The NewsHour is provided by Chevron, Bank of America and Intel, with additional support from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.
Contact: Anne Bell 703-998-2175.