UPCOMING WEBINAR: Social Media Ethics

Social media is an important tool for public radio newsrooms to report news and engage with growing audiences. But as the emotional intensity of our country’s political and social issues continues to rise, reporters and station employees find themselves in a difficult place. When is it appropriate to passionately weigh in on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and when is it not? The Culture or Journalism team will tackle social media ethics in a webinar on Thursday October 18 at 12:30 p.m. EST.

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This story was written by NPR Digital's Ki-Min Sung.

On the morning of June 9, the Colorado High Park wildfire near Fort Collins was just 40 acres. By the end of the day, the fire had consumed 8,000 acres and was zero percent contained. This was one of the worst forest fires in the state’s history. 

KUNC had the additional challenge of having a major transmitter in the burn area.

KERA Shares Debate Guidelines

Jul 10, 2012

Following are debate guidelines KERA has adopted with the advice of attorneys. We use numerous criteria in addition to polls when determining which candidates will be invited to our debates, and we give ourselves ample opportunity to apply discretion.  We evaluate the candidates to determine if they have active campaigns that include staff; an attempt to raise money, and efforts to communicate with voters. 

Cheat Sheet: Developing Story Ideas

Jul 9, 2012

Even among reporters, there are sloppy note takers.  So, as a service to folks who attended the work session on "Developing Story Ideas" during the PRNDI Conference in Houston, here are the notes used by presenters Erin Hennesey of KPLU and Kelly Griffin of Colorado Public Radio.  

News Maker as Recording Engineer

Jul 3, 2012

Rather than phone tape, news makers can now record themselves with an I-Phone and send good quality audio back to the reporter.  First, ask the interviewee if he or she has an iPhone. If so, ask if they can get to a landline which you record for backup. Then instruct the interviewee to open the voice memo app. A picture of a mic appears. The record button is on the left. A button on the right with three lines on it get to the recordings. 

Tell the interviewee to hold the phone 6 inches in front of his or her face with the screen at eye-level. This way they speak toward the actual microphone but not so close that they have popping "Ps."

Have them hit record, and ask to make sure the counter is going.

Public Radio Celebrates Local Journalism

Jul 1, 2012
Amy Tardiff / PRNDI

Public media journalist Ellen Weiss is this year's winner of PRNDI's Leo C. Lee Award. Weiss, who appeared in Houston during PRNDI's annual awards banquet, reminded journalists that "public radio is resilient, but you can't take anything for granted." "You've thrived and survived because of great journalism," said Weiss. Weiss, who's now executive editor at the Center for Public Integrity, built her reputation as a news manager at NPR.

Arriving on-time for work.  Dressing in a professional manner.  Staying focused on the job.  These are all traits we expect from people who work in our newsrooms, and perhaps traits we expect most people to have learned somewhere along the way.  However, when you work in an environment where your staff may not only be new to a newsroom, but new to the workplace, you may have to spell out some ground rules. 

With as many as 15 students working in my newsroom at any given time, someone is bound to say they can’t cover an assignment because they have to study for an exam.  Or as the weather warms up, someone may show up to cover the mayor’s news conference wearing shorts and sandals. That’s when I refer them to the newsroom contract they signed when starting at WFUV.

Colorado Public  Radio  Assistant News Director Judith Smelser's new blog Scribbles and Scruples:

There’s an interesting piece on the Poynter website today called How to pitch (stories) like a girl.  Author Jillian Keenan is bemoaning a report from a group called the OpEd project, which tracks gender representation in print editorials.  Not surprisingly, women wrote only 20% of Op-Eds in traditional papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post during the group’s 2011 survey period.  Women were more active in so-called “new media” outlets, like the Huffington Post and Salon – but they still authored just 38% of Op-Eds in those outlets.

This prompted a discussion of the persistent male dominance in print bylines overall.  Keenan reports on a packed event held in Brooklyn last night that addressed the issue and posed a fairly obvious remedy – female journalists need to pitch more stories.  She says the panelists – editors and freelance writers – talked about how women are more likely to view a rejected pitch as a personal rejection and be discouraged from pitching the same editor again, whereas men often take that same pitch rejection as a challenge and respond with a slew of new pitches.

Sharing Stations’ Local Reporting

Jun 11, 2012

NPR’s Policy and Representation Team has begun a new congressional communications initiative to spotlight station-produced content that is broadcast nationally. 

America Abroad Media says Kevin Klose has joined its board of advisors. The president emeritus of NPR, who currently serves as dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park, brings more than 40 years of experience in public affairs broadcasting and journalism to AAM. 

How WUSF Tries to Avoid, Correct Errors

Jun 11, 2012

In light of my conversation this week about errors and corrections with Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute, I thought it would be good to let our audience see how we deal with errors in our stories. Here's our current policy. It is always a work in progress. Please let us know what you think in our comments section:

WUSF Public Media strives to provide timely, accurate and fair information to our audience every day. They demand that we “get it right” the first time – and in those cases when we don’t, we promise to be as transparent as possible in fixing the error.

First, we should make every effort to prevent errors. The main person responsible for preventing errors is the journalist who is writing and producing the story.

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Alicia Zuckerman

Rachel Osier Lindley

Julie Glenn

Johnathan Reaves

George Bodarky

Terry Gildea

Christine Paige Diers