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Independent News Anniversary | Blue River Conservation | Online University Learning

Hands typing on the keyboard of a laptop computer
John Schnobrich
Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many universities will be making a major pivot to online learning this fall.

A Kansas City alt-weekly celebrates 40 years, tensions arise between development and conservation efforts along the Blue River watershed, and universities experienced in distance learning offer advice for a successful transition to online education.

Segment 1, beginning at 4:55: 2020 marks The Pitch's 40th anniversary as Kansas City's premier alt-weekly.

The Kansas City media landscape is ever-changing but, since 1980, The Pitch has persisted. From the red boxes that once delivered tabloids to its cheeky email newsletter, the alt-weekly has offered up a unique voice even as the economy of journalism has undergone seismic shifts.

Segment 2, beginning at 21:10: Conservation efforts in Kansas City's "invisible" watershed.

In most parts of the Kansas City area you don’t have to go far to spend time in nature. But growth and economics can often rise to challenge those green public spaces. One such area feeling that tension recently is the Blue River watershed, straddling the Kansas-Missouri state line.

Segment 3, beginning at 35:10: A little experience with distance learning goes a long way.

Universities were dramatically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic — many had to construct robust online learning systems on the fly. Two regional universities, though, consider themselves pioneers in online learning, and offered a few keys to success.

Brian Ellison is a guest host of talk shows, newscasts, special coverage and community events for KCUR. Follow him on Twitter @ptsbrian.
Grace Cole is an intern for KCUR's Up To Date.
Chris Young is an Assistant Producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact him at
Danie Alexander is the senior producer of Up To Date.
Luke X. Martin is a reporter focusing on race, culture and ethnicity for KCUR 89.3. Contact him at or on Twitter, @lukexmartin.