$2.4 million grant from Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation supports expansion, continued education and health reporting initiatives
INDIANAPOLIS – WFYI Public Media announced the addition of two new staff members, Kendall Antron and Zak Cassel, expanding its digital news team. Made possible with support from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, this expansion reflects WFYI’s commitment to bring free access to information, in-depth reporting and vital storytelling to as many audiences as possible.
Antron joins WFYI as a digital producer and Cassel serves as the station’s data journalist. They join a robust newsroom including a digital managing editor, Lauren Bavis. While WFYI has seen rapid expansion in its reporting and digital reach in the last several years, the station’s leadership has identified a critical need to create robust content for wfyi.org, as well as social media and other emergent digital platforms. The station has seen 158% growth in its website reach and a 30% increase in its digital audience since 2020.
“These positions will give WFYI the opportunity to reach broader, more diverse communities with relevant news and watchdog-style reporting,” said WFYI News Director Sarah Neal-Estes. “We are thrilled to welcome Kendall and Zak to our team, and to realize our vision for data, audio and video storytelling in the growing digital landscape.”
In addition to expanding the digital team, Fairbanks Foundation grant funds will support continued coverage in education and health reporting. Digital engagement and data storytelling are also key elements of the whole news team’s overarching goals of centering equity in reporting and using community engagement to shape coverage. In the next year, WFYI plans to increase feature reporting and investigations while also creating new digital products.
“WFYI News’ growth, both in terms of coverage and staff, is filling an essential gap in local news reporting, providing free access to in-depth reporting with a focus on creating deep connections with diverse communities,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO of Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “Their efforts help local, statewide and regional audiences to have timely access to critical information, which then allows everyday citizens and leaders alike to make informed decisions.”
More on WFYI’s new staff members:
- Kendall Antron is a digital news producer for WFYI and Side Effects Public Media, a Midwest health reporting collaboration based at WFYI. He was previously the host of Made in Indy, a podcast about the artists, entrepreneurs, and creators of Indianapolis. He also served on the inaugural class of Public Space Fellows for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Kendall graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art.
- Zak Cassel is a data journalist for WFYI and Side Effects Public Media, a Midwest health reporting collaboration based at WFYI, examining inequity in health, education and beyond. His work has appeared in the Center for Public Integrity, The Intercept, Montana Free Press and The New York Times. Zak graduated from Columbia Journalism School and Wabash College.
WFYI News can be found online at wfyi.org/news, via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and YouTube, and on the air on 90.1 FM WFYI Public Radio.
About WFYI Public Media
Since 1970, WFYI Public Media has served Central Indiana as a trusted friend. Its nonprofit public radio and TV stations, digital content and community engagement activities provide trusted journalism, inspiring stories and lifelong learning to Hoosiers of all ages and walks of life. WFYI broadcasts original content, as well as PBS and NPR programs, on three television channels, five radio services – including WBAA – and online. Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media (MIPM) is the parent organization of WFYI Public Media. Learn more at wfyi.org and follow WFYI online on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.