Editor says merger in St. Louis has boosted web traffic, strengthened reporting

The organization resulting from the merger of the St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio is already realizing benefits from the union, six months after it took effect. That’s according to the editor of the combined news organization, who gave a progress report on the collaboration June 20 at the annual Public Radio News Directors Inc. conference in Arlington, Va. “It’s not easy, day-to-day, but it’s paid off,” said Margaret Freivogel, who also founded the Beacon.

AIR, PRNDI release freelance pay guidelines for pubradio stations

The Association of Independents in Radio and Public Radio News Directors Inc. have published guidelines to assist freelance reporters in negotiating pay rates with stations. The guidelines use a scale model that assigns three tiers to the experience levels of producers and also accounts for the effort spent on pieces. They also take station budgets into account. The suggested pay for a beginning-level reporter working on a “superspot” — a short-turnaround story involving minimal effort — is $100–$150. On the high end of the scale, an advanced-level reporter working on an “advanced feature” involving extensive research and a sophisticated narrative would command a pay range of $500–$900.

AIR, PRNDI partner on guidelines for radio freelancers

The Association of Independents in Radio and Public Radio News Directors Inc. are collaborating on a set of guidelines for local pubradio stations to consult when setting freelancer rates. To lead the initiative, AIR recruited Susanna Capelouto, former news director at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Over the next month, Capelouto will survey news directors and station managers across the country to inform the guidelines, which she hopes to publish by Dec. 1. AIR will draw from a pay guide that it developed for NPR in 2002 and updated last year and from a guide that it created for American Public Media’s Marketplace in 2012.

CPR, WBEZ, WUOT, WBGO lead 2013 PRNDI winners for pubradio news

Presented by NPR’s Scott Simon in Cleveland June 22, Public Radio News Directors Inc. honored the best local public radio news in 16 categories based on the size of stations’ newsroom staff. In addition, PRNDI recognized stations for standout news reporting edited by a national producer; these awards were presented in several categories without consideration of newsroom size. Top winners among this year’s contenders were Colorado Public Radio, Chicago’s WBEZ, WUOT of Knoxville, Tenn., and WBGO in Newark, N.J., which each received four first-place awards in their divisions. Miami’s WLRN and WBFO in Buffalo, N.Y., both topped three categories. CPR, WBEZ, and WLRN competed amongst stations with the largest newsrooms: Division A, for newsrooms staffed by five or more full-time journalists.

University of Kentucky sues WUKY reporter over open records request

The University of Kentucky has sued a reporter at its public radio station, WUKY in Lexington, in an attempt to guard information she had requested about surgical practices at its pediatric hospital. By filing the complaint, UK is challenging the state’s attorney general, who in March endorsed reporter Brenna Angel’s request for documents. UK declined the AG’s request as well, citing state and federal privacy laws. The dispute began in December 2012, when Angel made an Open Records Request to the university regarding the cardiothoracic surgery program at Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington. The program has been suspended pending an internal review, according to local media reports.

PRNDI Awards for local journalism

KPCC and Vermont Public Radio led public radio news rooms in PRNDI’s three-tiered contest honoring outstanding local news coverage. In the competition among stations with the largest news staffs, KPCC in Pasadena, Calif., and VPR each won four first-place prizes. Top winners in other divisions included WBGO in Newark, N.J.; Wyoming Public Radio; KLCC in Eugene, Oregon; and WCAI in Woods Hole, Mass., each of which won at least three PRNDI awards. In Division A, comprising stations with five or more full-time news staffers, Vermont Public Radio took four top prizes for its coverage of the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene. Two of three first-place awards presented to WBGO in Division B recognized its reporting on the hurricane.

NET’s Bates to retire, NPR’s Seabrook departs, Bodarky elected PRNDI prez, and more…

Bates, a producer/director who rose through the ranks to become network chief in 1996, announced his retirement plans June 22, initiating the second leadership transition for the state network’s top job since its founding 58 years ago. Bates arrived at NET in 1975 as a producer/director working on a one-year assignment. He ended up devoting his career to NET, earning a promotion to senior producer and eventually moving into fundraising. He became director of development for Nebraskans for Public Television Inc. in 1985 before being appointed to succeed Jack McBride, NET’s founding general manager, in the mid-1990s. “Rod Bates’ leadership has brought NET to the highest level of service in our history,” said Ron Hull, a semi-retired NET veteran who hired Bates as a TV producer more than three decades ago.

Public Radio News Directors Inc. Awards, 2011

KJZZ, WBEZ, WBGO and KLCC led the annual contest among local pubradio newsrooms.
Each took three or more first-place PRNDI awards in a competition among peer-group stations. PRNDI groups stations into tiers based on the number of full-time news staffers they employ. In division A, comprising stations with the largest newsrooms, KJZZ in Phoenix and Chicago’s WBEZ each received three top prizes. All three PRNDI awards to WBEZ recognized Inside and Out, a special series on juvenile justice that aired across a six-month period in 2010. WGBO, a news and jazz station in Newark, N.J., won six first-place awards in division B, including stations with three or four full-time journalists.

Journalists counted: 3,200 pros; 6,000 total

Public broadcasting has 3,224 professional journalists plus 2,770 nonprofessionals contributing to its reporting, making a total of nearly 6,000, according to a census by a team from Public Radio News Directors Inc. that was commissioned by CPB. Three-quarters appear to work in radio. Almost 80 percent of the professionals are full-timers, according to preliminary figures. The pros would amount to about one in six of total public broadcasting employees, based on the 20,000 total estimated for January in a CPB report. The nonprofessionals are roughly equally split between students and volunteers, according to early figures.

Public Radio News Directors Awards for 2009

Zeleznik tapped for Leo C. Lee Award
Maryanne Zeleznik, news director of Cincinnati’s WVXU, received the annual Leo C. Lee Award from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. during its annual conference in Louisville last week. PRNDI also bestowed 93 awards for public radio work produced in 2009. Among Division A stations, with five or more full-time news staffers, WAMU received three awards, Chicago’s WBEZ, Oregon Public Broadcasting and Pasadena’s KPCC won two each. In Division B, with three or four full-timers, Nashville Public Radio, Connecticut’s WSHU and Cincinnati’s WVXU took home two apiece. Among smaller stations, KCLU (Thousand Oaks, Cal.) and KLCC (Eugene, Ore.) won four awards each.

PRNDI Statement of Ethics, 2003

This revised statement was adopted in July 2003 by Public Radio News Directors Inc., the association of journalists working in public radio. Public Radio News Directors Inc. is committed to the highest standards of journalistic ethics and excellence. We must stand apart from pressures of politics and commerce as we inform and engage our listeners. We seek truth, and report with fairness and integrity. Independence and integrity are the foundations of our service, which we maintain through these principles:

Journalism is the rigorous pursuit of truth.