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KOSU Receives CPB Funding To Address COVID-19 Misinformation In Oklahoma

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Chelsea Stanfield / KOSU
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KOSU's Kateleigh Mills (right) interviews farmer Micah Anderson (left) in August 2020.

KOSU is among 14 public media stations across the country to receive Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) emergency grants to address COVID-19 misinformation in their communities. The grants — up to $20,000 each — are being awarded to public television and radio stations in areas with low vaccination and high infection rates, or in emerging hotspots for coronavirus infection.

"Public media stations, locally operated, work with their communities through partnerships of trust. General managers of stations serving America’s communities that are hard hit by the pandemic are committed to breaking through the cycle of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and are providing information that is saving lives," said Patricia Harrison, CPB president and CEO. "CPB is committed to funding their work as part of our stewardship and mission."

Oklahoma is experiencing a high rate of community transmission in the latest wave of COVID cases. As of Aug. 23, Oklahoma is averaging about 2,100 new infections per day and about 1,500 people in Oklahoma are hospitalized with the virus.

As of Aug. 23, only 42.4% of Oklahomans have been fully vaccinated. For Oklahomans between the ages of 12 and 24, that fully vaccinated rate drops to 23.2%.

KOSU will target the low vaccination rate among 12- to 24-year-olds by collaborating with clubs, after-school programs, and other community organizations to solicit and answer questions from teens and their parents about vaccine misinformation. Outreach will include content translated into Spanish and Vietnamese.

"KOSU reporters continue to listen to the kinds of information the community needs. This project helps to continue to fill in the gaps and allows us to continue listening and learning," said Rachel Hubbard, KOSU Executive Director.

You can find more information on the grantees and descriptions of their projects here.

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