A total of 12 participants have completed the inaugural WNIJ News “Public Radio 101” seminar, held during several September evenings at the NIU Broadcast Center. The class included two students from Kishwaukee College, two NIU staff members as well as eight NIU students at various stages of pursuing degrees in the communications field. WNIJ 89.5 FM is one of two non-commercial public broadcasting radio stations managed by Northern Public Radio, the broadcast arm of NIU, and provides independent, local, national and international news.
“The seminar served a number of purposes,” WNIJ Managing Editor Victor Yehling explained. “It allowed us to introduce the objectives and techniques of a public radio newsroom to students who are considering careers in broadcast news, it enabled the participants to get a taste of the radio news process under the guidance of news professionals, and it provided a way for Northern Public Radio to reach out to the academic campus and support the programs they offer.”
WNIJ’s Senior Reporter Sue Stephens and “All Things Considered” host Jenna Dooley headed the seminar along with Yehling. Topics included the ethics and values of public radio news, news story terminology and structure, using sound to enhance stories, vocal techniques and preparing stories in “print” versions for the station website.
The seminar team prepared a webpage with resources for the participants in various aspects of story preparation and production. WNIJ “Morning Edition” host Dan Klefstad also conducted a presentation on interviewing techniques.
Seminar participants had the opportunity to write a broadcast story and receive professional editing and critique as well as prepare a full proposal – or “pitch” – for a more extensive story they would like to pursue.
Those who completed the seminar will work with the WNIJ News team during the rest of the semester on selected projects and can be considered for internships in a future term.
The next session of “Public Radio 101” is being planned for January. Dates will be finalized in time for the NIU Internship Fair on Oct. 18.