NPR's Northeastern Bureau Chief Andrea de Leon Will Receive PRNDI's 2017 Leo C. Lee Award

PRNDI is celebrating 2017 as “The Year of the Editor,” and there is no better way to bring that message home than to honor one of the finest editors working in public media today. We are pleased to announce that Andrea de Leon is the 2017 recipient of the Leo C. Lee Award.

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The new clocks presented challenges for most newsrooms producing local newscasts. The biggest concern was, of course, how to fit everything into a smaller news hole.

In my newsroom, we’ve nicknamed our newscast spots “news haikus."  There was a lot of copy left on the proverbial cutting room floor in the first weeks of the new clocks as reporters adjusted to writing for a smaller hole.

“It’s just too short to provide a meaty newscast,” said one host in response to PRNDI’s call for comments.

Near-live mid-day newscasts are fed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Louisville Public Media and air on four of the five member-stations that make up the Kentucky Public Radio Network.

Todd Mundt (LPM) has led the workflow changes for his newscast unit.

“Until we have an interconnect for live transmission, we are producing and recording the newscasts each hour around 20-30 minutes before broadcast," said Mundt.  “The Master Control system automatically grabs the two-minute audio file and forwards it to FTP servers, making it available to WKYU, WEKU and WKMS several minutes before broadcast.”

Each station can originate the newscasts as a backup to LPM, additionally any station can opt out of a newscast in a breaking news situation. 

The PRNDI Board is pleased to announce the 2015 recipient of the Leo C. Lee award. 

The name of this year’s winner is synonymous with public radio. Tanya Ott’s contributions to the industry are many-fold. 

Newswriting Tips from Korva

Nov 26, 2014
Korva Coleman
Doby Photography/NPR

Advice from NPR's veteran newscaster.

  1. When writing, keep sentences short and conversational. Like this.
     
  2. Organize and time your stories so that you are able to stop reading a piece of copy before you get to the end of the story. Each story should be written so it can either be cut short or run long. You should be able to fit key elements into the first few sentences and have it make sense if you decide to cut away early for time. Stories should also be able to run long without dragging or boring listeners if you need to fill extra time.
     
  3. Story counts will vary on the amount of news you have available. Don't be wedded to a particular number of stories per newscast.

What’s more fun than hiring three people to replace reporters who left your news room? Hiring four reporters, a local journalism collaboration reporter, and getting the opportunity to train all of them!

While in the process of hiring a grant funded education reporter and filling a general assignment opening, two of my veteran reporters approached me and said they’d be leaving in a couple of weeks. One took a better paying job; the other decided to quit to deal with some personal matters. Hiring two people was going to be a challenge already, but hiring four people was daunting. 

All Things Football: Sideline Reporting Public Radio Style

Oct 28, 2014

"Innovate or die" is one way to describe my approach to journalism. This past August, that meant hosting Georgia Public Broadcasting's All Things Considered live from a Friday night high school football game.

Another piece of this experiment was covering a half hour with a local special about -- you guessed it -- football. Naturally, it would become All Things Football.

The structure of public radio newsrooms is changing. And that’s prompting PRNDI, a.k.a. Public Radio News Directors, Inc., to revisit its bylaws, which layout the organization’s objectives, who it represents, and the balance of power in the organization. The newly formed Bylaws Committee, which I am chairing, is looking at drafting revisions for consideration by the general membership at the conference in Salt Lake City this June. 

Society of Professional Journalists

As the nature of our industry rapidly evolves, what does the future hold for journalism organizations, like Public Radio News Directors Incorporated?  That’s a question we’re asking ourselves as we take a very hard look at PRNDI’s bylaws.  

PRNDI is not alone in contemplating its future. Many journalism organizations are faced with similar issues.  That’s why 19 organizations, including PRNDI, got together for a leadership summit at this year’s Excellence in Journalism Conference in Nashville, TN. The session was led by the American Copy Editors Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. We talked about the challenges our organizations face and what we might be able to do collectively to advocate for journalists and advance quality journalism.

Takeaways from PRPD: Best Practices for New Clocks

Sep 21, 2014
Behold: the new NPR magazine clocks.
Jonathan Ahl

NPR member stations around the country are working feverishly to figure out how they will insert local content and cover the breaks in the new clocks for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and the weekend news magazines.  

Determining and implementing the best practices for using the new clocks was the topic of a breakout session at the PRPD Conference in Portland, OR on Sept.10.

My name is George and my station dropped NPR newscasts.

When I was first confronted with that proposal, I was like, “we’re considering doing what???”

But, once I got over the initial shock, I took a very hard look at the facts, and seized it as an opportunity to grow WFUV’s news presence. 

First of all, WFUV is Triple A station. By and large listeners come to us for music. That’s not to say our listeners simply want to bury their heads in the playlist and ignore the fact that the world is revolving around them as they catch the latest from Mumford and Sons. Our listeners are life-long learners who want to be in the know about current events, including when news breaks during the day.

So why drop NPR newscasts?

Eliminating NPR headlines did lead to a cost savings of about $50,000 a year. But, that wasn’t the motivating factor. As I mentioned, WFUV is a music station, and the station wanted to increase focus on music programming.

“We were concerned with our ability to retain audience when we cut to three minutes of news each hour across the day, “said WFUV General Manager, Chuck Singleton. “Of course, this was also informed by (and made less of a risk) by our awareness of the experience of our peers in music format stations; we were one of the last to retain the hourly newscasts.”

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