ITVS Joins AIR and Prairie Public Broadcasting to Support Award-Winning Black Gold Boom

Short Form Video Documentary and Online Companion Project Chronicle North Dakota Oil Boom

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(San Francisco, CA) – ITVS, AIR, and Prairie Public Broadcasting announce a partnership to help boost support for transformative public media work with a new interactive documentary series to be distributed online and on public television through the Localore initiative. Created by independent producer Todd Melby, the documentary Black Gold Boom ( and companion transmedia project “Oil Patch: Code Blue” will be completed in 2014. 

In a modern-day gold rush, people are flocking to previously underpopulated regions of western North Dakota in an effort to capitalize off of the lucrative oil boom. Black Gold Boom is a journalistic exploration of the region, providing individual portraits of local residents and oil workers, along with the environmental and social consequences associated with the boom. Using a combination of traditional documentary video and online storytelling tools, Black Gold Boom showcases how the world’s thirst for oil has frazzled towns, dazzled politicians, and changed the state forever. 

Minneapolis-based Melby grew up in North Dakota and has witnessed the way the oil boom has transformed the state’s landscape. He is now reporting on it for the national public radio program Marketplace and has been featured on NPR and PBS NewsHour. Melby is a senior producer for the public media nonprofit 2 below zero (, a Minneapolis-based public media nonprofit that produces thoughtful and thought-provoking documentaries. 

Black Gold Boom is the recipient of two national journalism awards: 2013 Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award for best specialized journalism site and 2013 Online News Association award for best feature. 

For more about the Black Gold Boom project go to

About Localore 
Localore ( is a national initiative produced by Boston-based AIR with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the Wyncote Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In spring 2012, AIR assembled a diverse team of independent, station-based, community and technical producers, forming a closely coordinated “skunk works” embedded inside ten public radio and television incubator stations. San Francisco-based Zeega worked as technical partner on the production. After one year of R&D, what emerged is an extensive range of new public media models — from a rich multimedia music map in Austin, to a celebration of the everyday maker across the San Francisco Bay area, to a ground-up digital version of the farmer’s almanac that tells the story of climate change in Paonia, CO — designed to reach and involve citizens on the air, screen, and streets of the community. Their efforts are aimed at expanding public media stations’ capacity to experiment, and plant new seeds to take public media to more Americans. 

About ITVS 
Mandated by Congress in 1988 to bring to public broadcasting documentary films featuring underrepresented voices, Independent Television Service (ITVS) is a global media organization that funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries on public, cable, and foreign television, innovative new media projects on the Web and mobile, and the Emmy Award-winning series Independent Lens. For more than a decade, ITVS Interactive has presented new media projects — from mapping to social issue games, transmedia storytelling to mobile apps — focusing on innovation, participation, and engagement in bringing new audiences to public media. ITVS is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. 

About AIR, Inc. 
Boston-based AIR ( is a vibrant international network of more than 1000 radio journalists and documentarians, technicians, media entrepreneurs, and sound artists. AIR producers contribute daily to public media offerings and work at the front edge of public media reinvention. Its programs are designed to identify, cultivate, and deploy gifted talent for the benefit of citizens across the U.S. 

About Prairie Public Broadcasting 
Prairie Public Broadcasting ( is based out of Fargo and is a non-profit community licensee that provides public television services throughout North Dakota, northwestern Minnesota, southern Manitoba, and parts of Montana and South Dakota; public radio service to North Dakota; and a wide range of educational and technological services to communities and individuals across its coverage area.

Posted on November 20, 2013