Rocky Mountain PBS News produces in-depth, research-based journalism that many newsrooms couldn’t do alone. We collaborate with the most respected news outlets to deliver this journalism to millions of Coloradans. Together with our media partners, we’re filling a void in serious public-service journalism, bringing more in-depth news to the places you already look for your news: your newspaper, radio, television, computer and digital device. We produce journalism that makes a difference. Here are some recent examples:
Communities take action
Community groups are seeking solutions and lawmakers want to root out inequities in response to the RMPBS News Losing Ground special report, which showed growing ethnic and racial disparity in Colorado.
RMPBS News helped 9News and other media reveal hit-and-run epidemic. Within weeks, state lawmakers pass Medina Alert, pushing public to help solve cases.
Colorado board of education toughened standards for K-12 cyber schools after RMPBS News showed schools get millions in tax dollars while failing students.
Tax law changed
Lawmakers closed loopholes when RMPBS News helped The Denver Post reveal movie stars and developers got tax breaks meant for farmers and ranchers.
More doctors now disclose payments from drug companies after RMPBS News helped Colorado Public Radio report many failed to report funds, as law requires.
Officials do more to protect students after RMPBS News reports some schools withheld information about sexual assaults on campus.
Northern Colorado residents sought to help disabled neighbors live at home and save tax dollars after RMPBS News showed how state policies trapped them in nursing homes.
Waste law changed
A new state law passed after RMPBS News uncovered dangerous and illegal treatment of hazardous electronic waste unknown even to regulators.
Fire policy addressed Politicians and the public began discussing fire policies when an RMPBS News report showed how those policies made dangers worse and that one in four homes is now in a fire danger zone.
RMPBS News reports on issues of statewide importance and local impact. Our specialty is turning complex information into compelling multimedia stories – so citizens can make better-informed decisions. Our focus is high-impact, investigative journalism with an emphasis on data analysis, statistical analysis, data visualization and public records research. These are skills most newsrooms currently lack. However, these are skills that are urgently needed to produce public service journalism. Traditional news sources face tighter resources and more deadlines. They don’t always have the time or specialized skills to do it all. RMPBS News is there to help.
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Meet the Team
Laura Frank is the President and General Manager of News at Rocky Mountain PBS. Laura is a Denver native who spent 20 years at newspapers, radio and public television around the country, specializing in in-depth reporting that requires data analysis and deep public records research. She has trained hundreds of journalists for more than a dozen media organizations, including the nation’s largest newspaper company (Gannett). Her work has been recognized in both broadcast and print, including a regional Emmy for documentary production in 1990 and as a top-10 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 at the Rocky Mountain News.
Laura started her first business at age 16 and began syndicating reports to radio and newspapers that same year. She is a Knight Fellow at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the USC Marshall School of Business, and serves on the board of directors of the national Investigative News Network.
Jim Trotter is highly regarded in Colorado journalism and beyond. He was the senior editor for investigative and enterprise journalism at the Rocky Mountain News when it closed in 2009. Since then, he has been with the Associated Press, responsible for enterprise journalism in 13 western states.
Jim has edited Pulitzer Prize-winning articles and an Emmy-winning documentary. He has been a columnist at a major metropolitan newspaper and been editorial director for the public affairs show of a major metropolitan television station. He was winner of the Dart Society’s 2010 Mimi Award, recognizing both his compassion and leadership.
He is uniquely qualified to help RMPBS News work with print, broadcast and digital news media across Colorado to produce important public-service journalism. Jim’s hiring is made possible through a generous grant from The Colorado Health Foundation.
Investigative reporter and award-winning journalist John Ferrugia is the Principal News Anchor and Managing Editor. Part of the KMGH team since 1992, John is a former White House correspondent for CBS News, is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and is the is the recipient of three Peabody awards, an Edward R. Murrow Award and a Columbia-DuPont award, the broadcast equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize.
In addition to his investigative work, John has reported on numerous national stories including the Columbine school shooting and subsequent investigation, the Oklahoma City bombing trials, both Democratic and Republican National Conventions and the 2012 Aurora shooting at a metro area theater. His investigations have prompted a complete change in the way the military treats sexual assault victims and how the state of Colorado treats abused and neglected children and the mentally ill.
Burt Hubbard is the editorial director of Rocky Mountain PBS I-News. Burt is well-known in the journalism world for his data analysis skills. His numerous awards include two prestigious Best of The West awards, a national education award for investigative reporting, and Reporter of the Year in Colorado.
He also was a top-10 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting for the Rocky Mountain News and is enshrined in the Scripps Howard Journalism Hall of Fame. Burt has taught computer-assisted reporting and internet research to graduate students for 11 years at the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication. For the past three years he has led research symposiums for journalists and citizens throughout Colorado on behalf of the university. Burt recently left the Denver Post to join I-News.
Cynthia Hessin host and executive producer of the Colorado State of Mind, the weekly news discussion series on Rocky Mountain PBS, where I-News’ original reporting appears regularly. She wrote and narrated the recent I-News documentary, "Losing Ground: The Cliff Effect," about a little-known trap in Colorado public assistance law which ensnares many single parents.
Hessin is a Denver area native and previously worked as a reporter in two other local television newsrooms, KCNC and KMGH. Her honors include regional and national recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association for Women in Communications, and the Colorado Broadcasters Association, as well as six regional Emmy awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) for writing, producing and performance. She has been active in related professional organizations, including a term as the first female president of the Denver Press Club (1996-97).
Steve Chavis is co-host for KUVO/KVJZ's morning program, First Take with Lando and Chavis, as well as being Public Affairs Manager for the award-winning Jazz format radio station in Denver. Steve began in public radio as an intern in Detroit. He served in the early days of KGNU in Boulder, too. Along the way he was news director for KBCO, KHOW and KHIH, and spent a dozen years directing communications for an international non-profit organization in Denver.