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News and Public Affairs Committee: March 20, 2014

Call to Order
Present: Alycin Bektesh, Sarah Ryterband, Kelly Miller, Maria McKinley, Helen Harrell
Absent: Carolyn VandeWiele, Alex Lichtenstein, Cynthia Roberts-Hall

News Director’s Report

Democracy Now!
Democracy Now! now comes in through an audio port. While broadcasting Democracy Now! is improved by this, it potentially creates an issue in transitioning from in-house segments to the program as both are played off the computer and the audio port plays a high-pitched tone until the show goes live. Offered the idea of moving them to 9 a.m. to take the place of the second-run Hightower. Ultimately decided that its best not to rearrange program schedule but to, instead, switch medium that segments are played out of. Teach traffic and 6 – 8 a.m. programmers how to do this.

Need Newsies Guidelines
Would help for volunteers to understand their place within the department. Need job descriptions for all positions, including show producers, helps hold people accountable and easier then to take action when people aren’t living up to their roles. Would be nice to have a welcome letter from NPAC, maybe instructional video so new news volunteers get to know some of the other people they may see in the station, understand NPAC liaison system and requirements such as Quarterly and Annual Meetings.

NPAC Minutes Violation
Already solved during committee comment. Minutes responsibility moved away from Carolyn VandeWiele and on to monthly attendee. Carolyn must still get us up to date on past meetings.

I’m Homeless Series
“I’m Homeless” series running with good feedback form the community and the homeless.

Program Review: Brown County Hour

  • Needs spontaneity/naturalness in interviews and other segments.
  • Speak to those outside the “in crowd” of Brown County
  • Issue of advocacy – better to remain journalistic and use advocacy in other ways – call out for volunteers for environmental organizations or have a regular Brown County update on EcoReport.
  • If we want to be more ergular, maybe could add in news items or segments to the Daily Local News.
  • Underwriting sounds too much like an advertisement.
  • Try to involve youth in the programming

Committee Vote: Green Light, on annual review track for March 2015

Program Review: Activate!

  • Has strayed from mission of encouraging others to volunteer in the community by including employees and those without passion as guests
  • Can’t be an infomercial for an organization
  • Needs to be about the volunteer, why they want to volunteer, why they chose that organization, what difference it has made to those they’ve helped and to themselves
  • NPAC acknowledges that often times it is the staff trying to make sure the volunteers represent them perfectly, so try to control the interview. Perhaps better to approach volunteers, not organizations, through contact lists like the “Be More” nominations.

Committee Vote: Yellow Light, comments to producer from Helen, three month follow-up with Jennifer attending June 2014

Approval of Minutes
All vote yea

Adjournment
8:53 PM

Next meeting is scheduled for April 17.

Carolyn VandeWiele is liaison. Shows to be reviewed: Volunteer Connection, An Organic Conversation

Firehouse News, Vol. 1, No. 1: About the News Department

by Michael G. Glab

Alycin Bektesh signed up as a volunteer in the News Department in the winter of 2010. She became Assistant News Director in June 2011 and was named News Director in November of that year. Here is a true WFHB success story. She has described her paid staff position as her “dream job.” She’ll be our source for new developments in the News Department.

News News:

Bektesh in recent months has overseen the move of reporters from their old cramped quarters to a more spacious area where the station’s old vinyl library used to stand. “I’m so excited about our new newsroom,” she says.

The new newsroom can comfortably seat three working reporters and a producer or audio engineer, all in front of their own computer work stations. Bektesh says this helps greatly with the communication flow as deadlines approach. “People had to communicate via emails and walking around the building trying to find each other,” she says. “We could all have been here at the same time and never really be able to interact with each other.”

The move also benefits the Music Department, which now can use the small production studio at any time for unscheduled live performances. Under the old set-up, the News Department reserved that studio for post-production and editing.

Bektesh has welcomes aboard Drew Daudelin to manage much of the work that goes into the Daily Local News. “Drew oversees copy editing and production of the script,” she says. Daudelin pitched the idea of the position to her. He works each weekday afternoon and can work directly with new volunteer news reporters, getting them up to speed, and ensuring their output approaches Associated Press standards.

Speaking of high standards, Bektesh recently submitted more than 20 audio clips to the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists for the organization’s 2014 awards. The ceremony will be in Indianapolis this spring. WFHB’s entries include clips from the Daily Local News, Bring It On!, Interchange, and others.

The News Department now has a staff of three dedicated feature writers. The Daily Local News includes an 8-minute in-depth feature concentrating on a specific issue. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has produced features on historic preservation and other city and county issues. He and reporters Lauren Glapa and Casey Kuhn each must produce at least one feature per week.

With Zorba Paster On Your Health‘s annual syndication fee rising considerably on an annual basis, the News and Public Affairs Committee opted to cancel WFHB’s weekly presentation of the program. Bektesh has put the call out for a replacement produced locally and concentrating on medical issues specific to South Central Indiana. “My hope and dream is to have a local medical reporting program following the model of EcoReport.”

A programming note: A repeat of the Brown County Hour now can be heard on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. BCH runs the first Sunday morning of each month, with the repeat airing three evenings later.

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