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Side Effects Public Media is working closely with Indiana Public Broadcasting and WFYI to increase engagement journalism efforts this year. We’re also partnering with other public radio stations and collaborations in a reporting initiative called America Amplified: Election 2020.The $1.9 million national initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, was designed to bring a different kind of reporting into public media coverage of this year’s election. In light of the current health crisis, America Amplified is pivoting to focus on the coronavirus pandemic and providing resources to engage with the communities they cover.America Amplified aims to put people, not preconceived ideas, at the center of its reporting process. In this era of “social distancing,” we will use tools such as crowd-sourcing, virtual town halls, surveys and social media to listen first to the concerns and aspirations of communities across the country. The results will then be reported back through a network of participating public media stations across the country.America Amplified is working with seven established public media collaborations — Side Effects Public Media, StateImpact Pennsylvania, Ohio Valley ReSource, the Mountain West News Bureau, I-4 Votes, Harvest Public Media and the New England News Collaborative — as well as with WABE in Atlanta.Other partners include APM Research Lab, BBC and the Public Agenda/USA Today/Ipso Hidden Common Ground initiative.Follow America Amplified on Twitter at @amplified2020 or visit to sign up for our newsletter.

Side Effects Launches "Midwest Checkup" Text Group -- Share Your Concerns, Tips And Ideas With Us.

Now more than ever, it’s important for journalists to listen to their communities. 

That’s why Side Effects Public Media is launching the Midwest Checkup, a text tool to strengthen the connection between community members and reporters who cover health in the region.

READ MORE: You Asked: What Do I Tell My Child About Coronavirus?

Side Effects will periodically text members of the Midwest Checkup with a question on a topic such as coronavirus, healthcare costs or hospital closures. We'll use those responses to inform the stories our reporters pursue. And we'll make sure members receive the resulting stories directly into their inbox.

To join the Midwest Checkup text group, text “health” to 73224.

Side Effects helped launch this tool with Indiana Public Broadcasting, and asked its members to share their concerns with the high costs of healthcare.

Reporters, editors and community engagement specialists created this complilation of responses, held a live event on the issue with experts, and are planning future stories now.