"APM Reports," the award-winning program, has been shut down. Minnesota Public Radio executives informed employees of the decision Thursday through e-mail and a Zoom call.
The St. Paul-based "Reports" specialized in long-form, investigative journalism. Its signature podcast, "In the Dark," won a pair of Peabody Awards — one for its in-depth look at the kidnapping and murder of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling and the other for the investigation of the case of Curtis Flowers, a Mississippi man who was tried six times for the same crime.
In the nearly seven years that it existed, the program tackled a wide range of topics from Martin Luther King Jr.'s final year to climate change.
"As a trusted public media service, Minnesota Public Radio is committed to providing high-quality journalism, programming and experiences for our audiences and communities," the company said in a statement. "In keeping with this commitment, advancement of our strategic priorities, and our responsibility as financial stewards of MPR's resources, we have made a difficult decision regarding the future of 'APM Reports.' We are dissolving 'APM Reports' as a separate business unit and incorporating select programming elements into MPR News. Unfortunately, this change means that colleagues, who've invested their energy, skills and passion with us, will be leaving our organization."
A spokesperson said the company would be making no further comments at this time.
CEO and president Jean Taylor's letter to employees didn't offer much more insight.
"This decision has just been finalized and we are exercising a great deal of care in working out the details," she wrote. "This along with the fact that it will involve decisions that affect our people is why we are not providing greater detail at this point. I decided to be open with the organization and let you all know as soon as the decision had been made, knowing that it may be frustrating to not have complete understanding."
It was unclear how many of the 18-member unit would be reassigned and how many would be dismissed. "Reports" managing editor Chris Worthington could not be reached for comment.
In a 2016 note to listeners, he laid out the program's mission.
"'APM Reports' fills a void," he wrote. "Today's divisive and complex climate in America requires thoughtful, in-depth reporting across a range of issues — money in politics, ineffective schools, compromised health care, a fragile environment, exploitative employers, widespread social disparities and police brutality. Digging deeply into these issues on behalf of the public is a role we take seriously."
Tom Weber, who previously hosted a show on MPR, applauded his former colleagues on Twitter.
"The entire 'APM Reports' is a dream team of incredible journalists that any news org would be lucky to have. And they're good people,'' wrote Weber, who is married to Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. "It's shocking MPR would drop a podcast that helped solve a massively famous kidnapping case and got a man off death row."
The news is the latest in a series of shakeups at MPR. In March, longtime chief operating officer Dave Kansas departed the company in the wake of major structural changes.
Staff writer Burl Gilyard contributed to this report.