News and Views

The Poynter Institute has just launched a blog covering ethics. It's written by Kelly McBride, and, as she describes, it is  "dedicated to examining how the transformation of media is changing the ethics of journalism."McBride offers three guiding principles and asks journalists to "debate and debunk" them. 

Here's an excerpt describing why she thinks we need a fresh look at ethics:

PRNDI Re-Cued: City Club of Cleveland

Jun 24, 2013

Public Radio News Directors, Inc. Presents "Breaking News and Getting it Right,"

This panel discussion includes:

John Dinges, Formerly with NPR, was a special correspondent for Time, Washington Post and ABC Radio in Chile. With a group of Chilean journalists, he co-founded the Chilean magazine APSO. Since 1996 he is associate professor and director of radio at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

PRNDI Re-Cued: Protecting Reporters from Stress

Jun 24, 2013

Introduction by Charles Compton, news director WEKU Radio, at PRNDI's 2013 Conference in Cleveland's Idea Center: Engineers take care of our equipment.  Our expenses are handled by business managers.  And the IT person keeps our computers humming.  But, in most cases, only news directors take care of reporters.

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
WUKY News

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:

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