News and Views

PRNDI's President George Bodarky presented the following annual report at the organization's annual business meeting on Saturday, June 22nd.

Strategic Planning

Each year the PRNDI board holds a retreat in January to plan the annual conference and set the organization’s goals for the year ahead.  Among the initiatives in the works (or already achieved) as a result of that meeting are:

  • A grow-the-membership campaign.  The membership committee has set a goal of obtaining 10 new member stations in 2013, securing 5 testimonials for the website and creating an on-line and printed brochure by January 1st, 2014
  • A mini-conference – stand-alone or attached to another conference (i.e. RTDNA, PRPD).  This would be done on alternate years with the first in 2014
  • Update the Public Radio News Directors Guide, and work to develop a “news director bootcamp” to help foster professional development
  • Joint sessions at other conferences (two in 2013)
  • Webinars (at least 1 per month with an average attendance of 50)
  • Press releases to raise the organization’s profile
  • Reporter Trainings (2 per year)
  • Expand and increase promotion of PRNDI news training
  • Launch PRNDI college chapters (2 off the ground in 2013)
  • Respond to news-related threats to reporters or media outlets with public statements from PRNDI or jointly with other media outlets

Some Handy Hints for Better Newsroom Management

Jun 22, 2013

During a pre-conference workshop, Tri States Public Radio's Jonathan Ahl and WVXU's Maryanne Zeleznik led a session on newsroom management.

Ahl told the room of newsroom directors and managers to not be afraid to step in holes in coverage or staffing. He says this sends a message to your newsroom that you are indeed a team.

Zeleznik suggested using early morning meetings as a forum to thank staff publicly for work done well.

PRNDI Re-Cued: The Sound of Ideas

Jun 21, 2013

The Sound of Ideas Live ideastream’s own local weekly radio show with a PRNDI twist.  Join us as we explore the topic of covering trauma: how coverage decisions are made, how we can do it better. With Rachel Dissell of the  Cleveland Plain Dealer, NPR Bureau Chief Russell Lewis, WSHU News Director Naomi Starobin and Bruce Shapiro from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.  The show is hosted by ideastream’s David Molpus.  WATCH NOW...

Aaron Husgagen / KPLU

Basically, we want our listeners to learn something when they listen to our news shows and click on our web stories.

If they don't learn something new or get information that’s useful to them, then we have failed.

As for why we practice journalism and tell its stories, I’d like to borrow from something I heard the great film director Martin Scorsese once say:

“We are about documenting reality and trying to find meaning in it.”

Counseling Your Newsroom

Apr 19, 2013

Everyday news professionals scour the landscape for stories that excites emotion in viewers (and listeners) and provides vital information potentially relevant for their survival. 

Truly, news professionals live their professional lives on a beachhead of trauma secretly praying for a tsunami of events that will thrust them into a national news spotlight.  Stories involving terrorism, mass casualties, death, and widespread human trauma spawn just such a media tsunami.  Unfortunately, often news professionals not only report on these incidents, they become unintended victims of the trauma on which they report.

PRNDI Joins Dispute over Open Records Request

Apr 15, 2013

Joining with journalistic organizations like RTDNA and SPJ, the PRNDI Board has called upon the University of Kentucky to release documents requested under the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Open Records Laws. The records were requested by the University’s public radio station, as part of an investigation into the competency of care provided by the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Program at UK Healthcare.  The program was shut down last year by UK Healthcare and patients referred to out of state providers.

The University of Kentucky refused an initial request from WUKY Radio reporter Brenna Angel, who then appealed to Kentucky’s attorney general.  After UK Healthcare refused to release the documents for review by state lawyers, the AG ruled again the health provider and ordered their release.

Craig LeMoult

It’s been a month since a shooter killed 20 schoolchildren, 6 school staff, his mother and himself in Newtown, Connecticut. I coordinated WSHU Public Radio coverage of the shootings and the aftermath.  Though we had covered our share of crises -- severe weather, industrial accidents -- this event touched us and challenged our 9-person newsroom in new ways.  I hope our experience can be helpful to other news directors.

Ten things I learned from covering the Newtown shootings:

In the coming days, journalists will have to provide clear-eyed context to help the nation come to terms with the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Without question this incident will once again spark heated debates over gun-control and school safety.

Let’s step back to see what we need to know to cover those stories.

Read more from the Poynter Institute's Al Tompkins here.

A Case for Science Reporting

Nov 9, 2012

A few years ago, when I was still a public radio journalist, I got into a friendly debate with a trainer at a news production workshop.  The trainer—I’ll call him Frank—said our job was to tell interesting stories.

I saw it a little differently, believing our mission was to tell important stories and make them interesting. This was more than a matter of semantics. For me, the overriding criterion for a story should be its importance; and if it’s important, there must be something inherently interesting about it. Besides, if we searched exclusively for stories that are obviously interesting, we might ignore something more worthwhile.

10 Ideas for Covering The Big Event

Oct 24, 2012

WUSF News Director Scott Finn and WFAE News Director Greg Collard reflect on their coverage of the national conventions:  

"This is the best thing we've ever done."

That was the judgment not of a GM or PD. This came from a hard-bitten engineer who's been working at the station since the Nixon Administration...and does not usually hand out compliments.

He's talking about our coverage of the national convention.

At WUSF in Tampa and WFAE in Charlotte, we knew we’d have to really up our game during these conventions. WUSF temporarily tripled the size of its newsroom, from 9 to 27. It added a daily hour-long talk show in the morning AND a half-hour magazine show called "The Convention Today" at night.