With Public Radio Newsrooms Expanding, PRNDI is More Relevant and More Important than Ever Before

Jul 10, 2013

Introductions are always a good place to start. I’m News Director at KUER in Salt Lake City and I have the privilege of managing a talented staff of 5 reporters and hosts. PRNDI Members at this year’s conference approved a motion to expand the governing board by one additional “At Large” representative and voters elected me to that post.  The greatest part about this position is that I’m not replacing any of the very talented members of the board.  I’m here to contribute and continue making PRNDI an organization that lives up to its expectations. 

When I interviewed at KUER more than two years ago, the station’s general manager and development director promised me that considerable resources would be dedicated to expanding the news department.  I’m happy to say they kept their promise.  When I came to KUER in August  2011, there were only two reporters on staff and both were moonlighting as morning and afternoon hosts.  I immediately had the go ahead to hire a full-time reporter and then six months later I was able to hire another.  Within the following year, I hired a full-time online editor to help our newsroom make the transition from our inferior website to the NPR Digital Services model.  Today we have a beat structured newsroom dedicated to education, health care, business and environmental issues among others.

As more public radio content is consumed on demand through mobile devices and podcasts, local news programming becomes more and more what defines a local member station.  While overseeing the growth of my newsroom, I immediately joined PRNDI and took advantage of the tremendous resources this organization has to offer.  The Public Radio News Directors Guide was a great place for me to start, but I realized the value of PRNDI when I attended my first conference in Houston last year. I found the exchange of ideas and experiences with other news directors, from shops bigger and smaller than mine, to be an amazing resource.  That proved to be even better at this year’s conference in Cleveland.  The training sessions at the last two conferences have become more sophisticated and relevant with information and contacts that newsroom leaders can take home and implement almost right away.

As the needs of public radio newsrooms grow, PRNDI itself needs to expand and continue being an important resource to stations.  To that end, I have joined our Treasurer, Bob Beck on the membership committee.   I truly believe that PRNDI will only be as strong as the number of active members we have and the diversity of public radio newsrooms we represent.

I want to hear from you. What makes this organization an important resource to you and your newsroom? What can we do to be more relevant to you? Do you know a news director in your state who is not a member of PRNDI or didn’t make it the conference last year or in previous years?  Let me know.  Bob and I want to reach out to those stations and find ways to bring them back into the fold.

I know there are obstacles that public radio newsrooms face.  Many stations are dealing with tight budgets this year, and don’t have the resources to join PRNDI or attend the conference.  But there are stations out there that can benefit from membership and participation in PRNDI.  Please allow me to show you what this organization can do for you.