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In Farewell To NEXT, New England News Collaborative Enters New Chapter

Dave Wurtzel
Connecticut Public

Editor’s Note: After five years on air, our weekly radio program NEXT is coming to an end. The show focused on New England at a time of change and featured stories from journalists across the New England News Collaborative. 

The good news is that these powerful stories aren’t going away. We will showcase our collaborative journalism on this website, NENC.news, and we are ramping up our next phase of New England reporting to bring you more news and conversations from the region.

Still, sunsetting the show wasn’t easy. NEXT fan Alvaro Castro Rivadeneira left us a voicemail this week praising our thoughtful journalism. 

“It is introspective, it’s human, it’s kind, it’s critical, and it’s real,” he said. “To me, New England is a place of hidden beauty with pockets of surprising diversity.”

Alvaro gets it. Through our journalism, we aim to inform and empower communities all across New England, from coastal and rural areas to cities and suburbs. And it’s because we want to do more of this work that we’re ready to take this next step.

The NENC has evolved and grown. We added more station partners in 2020 and are building a stronger network of ambitious, talented stations that are united by our mission to serve the public. Over the past year, we’ve asked ourselves: What can we do together that we can’t accomplish alone?

As part of that mission, we need to reflect the region’s growing diversity in our storytelling, audiences and newsrooms. Sunsetting NEXT allows us to reimagine how we tell stories with a wider impact -- on radio, video, social media and other digital platforms. We’re also planning initiatives to engage more deeply with our communities and foster newsrooms that are inclusive and supportive of journalists of color. These steps will make our journalism stronger and more sustainable.

We thank Morgan Springer for her exceptional work as host and producer of NEXTThroughout the pandemic, we relied on Morgan to guide important conversations on a range of subjects, from racism and inequality to interviews with New England authors and musicians. We know she has more fantastic work ahead as an independent audio editor and producer.

Watch this space: Bookmark NENC.news to follow our progress and to catch the compelling stories you’ve come to expect from the New England News Collaborative.

We thank you, our listeners. Our work thrives with a dedicated and thoughtful audience. Keep rooting for us -- and let me know what you think about New England news. I can be reached at vdelatorre@ctpublic.org.

Vanessa de la Torre is executive editor of the New England News Collaborative.

Copyright 2021 Connecticut Public Radio

Vanessa de la Torre comes to WNPR after more than a decade as a newspaper reporter at the Hartford Courant, where her storytelling and investigative work on Hartford education was recognized regionally and by the Education Writers Association. She has also written for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida and interned at the Washington Post and the Imperial Valley Press in her native El Centro, Calif., a desert town near the U.S.-Mexico border. Vanessa received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and her master's from Stanford’s journalism program.