American Public Media announced Wednesday the cancellation of its nationally-acclaimed "In the Dark" podcast — the crown jewel of the investigative and documentary group APM Reports, which the company began dissolving six weeks ago.
St. Paul-based American Public Media, the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio, is the second largest public radio production and distribution company in the country.
Season one of the Peabody Award-winning "In the Dark" examined how law enforcement responded to the abduction of Jacob Wetterling.
The second season centered around the case of Curtis Flowers, a Mississippi man tried six times for murder who ultimately had his conviction overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court after the podcast aired.
"Following a thoughtful assessment of our portfolio, we have made the decision to end our support of some APM Reports programs, including In The Dark and The Water Main, and realign others, including 'Educate,' the Investigative Journalism Unit and 'Call To Mind,' within MPR News," the company shared in a statement Wednesday.
The decision also brought the elimination of ten staff positions — two jobs were immediately eliminated in late May, with eight additional jobs cut this month.
"While programming decisions that result in the elimination of roles are never easy or made in haste, this reorganization will enable MPR to improve journalistic collaboration, achieve greater operational efficiencies, and provide new resources for coverage of topics that connect with our audiences and drive impact," the company stated.
Twelve jobs, including seven within MPR News, will be added under the re-shuffle, according to company executives.
In an email to staff obtained by the Minnesota Reformer, APM CEO Jean Taylor said the decision was “guided by the understanding that we have finite resources and talent which should be focused where we can have the greatest impact.”
Following the announcement Wednesday, social media flooded with posts from listeners and industry professionals alike bemoaning the loss of "In the Dark".
"Hard to imagine the 'greater impact' APMG and MPR have in mind," Jason Moon, a senior reporter and producer with New Hampshire Public Radio wrote in a tweet.
Many have pointed out that the work of "In The Dark," led by journalist Madeleine Baran, played a major role in the release of Flowers after 23 years of wrongful incarceration.