On the dying art of radio: WSOE News Fall 2011

For our first show of the semester, we wanted to talk a little bit about this idea that radio is becoming a dying medium.

It’s kind of obvious that here at WSOE we have a pretty unique take on this. We’re about freedom of radio, the importance of music and awesome indie hipster stuff. We believe that’s enough to keep us warm at night.

But, unfortunately, much of the world doesn’t work that way. And, to be honest, a lot of radio stations don’t approach things the way college stations tend to. It is a business. And any media professional can attest to the fact that with the advent of the Internet came a huge rethinking for packaging content.

So we decided to have a conversation about it. We brought in our general manager, Alexa Johnson, and Brea Hamilton, senior communications major. Hamilton is studying this topic for her senior seminar — as a DJ here at WSOE, she’s interested in getting into radio, and is looking into what’s going on with the industry.

So, for your viewing pleasure while you’re listening to our conversation, here are the articles we used to talk about the issue:

IndyWeek Op-Ed: Radio is Dying

The Chronicle: What’s Eating College Radio?

NYTimes: Preserving College Radio

CJR: Does NPR Have a Liberal Slant?

WSJ: Liberal Bias at NPR?

But that’s it for this week. Be sure to listen on Sunday for this week’s topic: farming in North Carolina. We’ll be posting quite a bit about that in the coming week, so be on the look out for that.


Panelists discuss challenges for journalists at Media and Politics conference

Jack Dodson/WSOE News

For an interview with panelists and clips from the event, be sure to check back to the news blog for podcasts of the interviews, and listen to this Sunday’s News Hour with The Pendulum at 2 p.m. You can listen to WSOE here.

There is no such thing as objectivity — journalists just attempt to come as close to that as possible.

That’s the view of Alex Goldman, of NPR’s On The Media; the News and Observer’s Andy Curliss; Jennifer LaFleur, from ProPublica; and Pendulum editor Anna Johnson. The four working journalists spoke for a panel at Elon University’s Politics and the Media conference Tuesday, with one of the centering focuses being on bias in the media.

Their suggestion was for news writers to be as fair as possible. And for consumers: understand that you need to be as broad as possible in your scope.

The session, called “Challenges for journalists,” covered everything from different ways to pore through data, ideas on how to conduct a thorough investigation, the ethics involved in attempting to be objective and ways to read news and gather information from credible sources.

Much of the discussion revolved around the journalistic experiences of the panelists as they’ve been working on in-depth stories. Curliss is an investigative reporter for the News and Observer–part of what the paper calls its I-Team–and his work has led to the arrest of a public official, and exposed corruption within the North Carolina governor’s office.

He said as far as objectivity goes, especially when writing a long story, things are never quite straight. Reporting, he argued, takes a bit of art.

“As much as we try to be objective, everybody brings something to the job of reporting,” Curliss said.

Tone is important, he said. So is thoroughness, and fairness.

“You hear this phrase a lot now: ‘fair and balanced.’ I’m not really interested in balanced,” he said. “Not every story is he-said-she-said.”

As for Goldman, he had a different suggestion for thoroughness. As a producer at On the Media, which is run by WNYC, he said there’s not a lot of time to make phone calls and track people down on-air. They have one hour a week with their audience. That’s why, when his colleagues and he decided to work on an in-depth piece attempting to expose the senator that put the anonymous hold on a bill to protect whistleblowers, effectively killing it, he suggested a different kind of idea: crowdsourcing.

“It kind of started as a lark,” Goldman said.

He said the idea was pitched to his coworkers almost in passing — this concept of inciting the audience to take on some of the reporting themselves, engaging them with the investigation — but that the more they talked about it, the more they liked it. They asked their audience to take part once they announced the investigation, telling them to call their senators and ask them to go on the record saying it wasn’t them who put the secret hold on the whistleblower protection bill.

He said early on, the reaction was huge, but later, it died down as only about 20 people stayed with the investigation.

With LaFleur, focus tended to remain on data analysis. For ProPublica, she acts as a computer-assisted reporter, frequently having to pore through data sets and gather information. She talked about the need for open government in this way, pointing out that sometimes agencies will post a document that seems like it’s useful information but doesn’t actually shed any light on real issues. For example, she said with the National Endowment for the Arts, rather than a consolidated budget report, the group had posted a data set about American interest in the arts.

“I don’t care about what people think about the arts. I care about how the money that’s being sent to the NEA is being spent,” LaFleur said.

And Johnson, who worked as the police reporter for The Pendulum when she was a reporter, tried to relate investigative pieces to student work. Because in-depth pieces can sometimes take years and then require meticulous and attentive follow-up, she said, investigative pieces are hard for student media to do. But she said open government affected students just as much as professional journalists, as incident reports are sometimes held illegally by police departments and meetings that should be open to the public are occasionally closed.

And when asked about how they read their news, the panelists agreed they double check what they’re reading. That way, when there is a clear bias — or the information is just wrong — they have another source to check it out.

Tagged ,

News Briefing – March 30

Listen to the radio here.
Covered today:


Elon’s Media and Politics conference

Rebels in Libya retreat to Qaddafi’s forces:

An opinions piece on the handling of Japan

The News Briefing from WSOE is a daily segment put out by the station. It cycles through airplay, and is posted on the blog as a podcast. During the weekend, the Briefing doesn’t air, because the news team hosts an hour-long show on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., co-hosted with The Pendulum.

News Brief: March 29

Listen to the radio here.

Covered today:

Obama’s speech on Libya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUXEiwJiKj4&feature=channel_video_title

Amazon outdoes Apple and Google to announce its cloud music, film library: http://blogs.ft.com/fttechhub/2011/03/amazon-floats-cloud-music-service/?ftcamp=rss

Government shutdown looms as Congress fails to negotiate budget: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703739204576229131946644972.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5

Elon’s Media and Politics conference kicks off today: http://www.elon.edu/e-net/Note.aspx?id=951473

A New Yorker Opinions piece from the front lines of Libya, discussing who the rebels really are: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2011/04/04/110404taco_talk_anderson

The News Briefing from WSOE is a daily segment put out by the station. It cycles through airplay, and is posted on the blog as a podcast. During the weekend, the Briefing doesn’t air, because the news team hosts an hour-long show on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., co-hosted with The Pendulum.

Daily Briefing March 28

Listen to the radio here.

Covered today:

Uprising in Libya as rebel forces move in toward al-Gadhafi’s stronghold.
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs contemplates a job at Facebook.
White House and Democrats push for an approved budget.
Elon’s Media and Politics conference starts Tuesday.

The News Briefing from WSOE is a daily segment put out by the station. It cycles through airplay, and is posted on the blog as a podcast. During the weekend, the Briefing doesn’t air, because the news team hosts an hour-long show on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., co-hosted with The Pendulum.

Briefing: March 9, 2011

Covered in today’s podcast:

– Elon housing arrangements force some students to move.
– The university looks into the possibility of a center for engaged learning.
– NPR is the focus of a sting by conservative media group Project Veritas.

News Briefing: March 4, 2011

Listen to the radio here.

Today, the segment covers:

• Obama’s condemnation of the Gadhafi regime in Libya.

• Changes in the White House staff.

• China’s tightened regulation following threats of protests.

• An opinions piece looking at the view of homosexuality in the Bible.

The News Briefing from WSOE is a daily segment put out by the station. It cycles through airplay, and is posted on the blog as a podcast. During the weekend, the Briefing doesn’t air, because the news team hosts an hour-long show on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., co-hosted with The Pendulum.

SGA Elections are Over and Results are In

Executive Presidential Results:
Taylor Martin: 1183
Evan Davis: 1079

Executive Vice-President Results
Joel Slocum: 1206
Rachel Long: 1031

Executive Treasurer Results
Matthew Campbell: 1984

Executive Secretary Results
Katheryn Link: 1978

Business Results
Kate Sloan: 1620
Jessica Turek: 1220

Social Science Results
Cedric Pulliam: 1813

Class of 2011 Presidential Results:
Michael Nowak: 281
Justin Peterson: 223

Class of 2011 Senator Results:
Charles Costa: 448
Hillary Srsic: 332

Class of 2012 Presidential Results:
Samuel Warren: 542

Class of 2012 Vice President Results:
Nicholas Livengood: 535

Class of 2012 Secretary Results:
Joseph Garner: 536

Class of 2012 Senator Results:
Alexander Davis: 528

Class of 2013 Presidential Results:
Rebecca Tynes: 324
Darien Flowers: 255
Jeffrey Michels: 129
Andrew Palmieri: 73

Class of 2013 Vice President Results
Neima Abdulahi: 289
Madeline Laliberte: 214
Evan Bonney: 174
Joseph Ziemba: 95

Class of 2013 Treasurer Results:
Elizabeth Burns: 373
Blaire Zachary: 367

Class of 2013 Secretary Results:
Austin Williamson: 711

Class of 2013 Senator Results:
Benjamin Waldon: 715

Amendment 1: Amendment to correct grammatical and language inconsistencies in the SGA Constitution.
Yes: 1694
No: 117

Referendum 1: Proposal to increase Student Activity Fees by an additional $20 to fund construction and maintenance costs of an outdoor pool facility on University property:
Yes: 884
No: 968

April 23, 2009

Phoenix sports are infiltrating the NCAA with 5 teams receiving top academic honors.

Yesterday students in HASMAT-like suits sifted through garbage to find recyclables yesterday at Landfill on the Lawn.

Forty homes burned in a wildfire in North Myrtle Beach this morning. Follow the story at http://www.thetimesnews.com

This, too, from the Times News: From Sunday through Friday two different lane closures will occur in the westbound stretch of interstate from mile marker 153 to 149 or N.C. 119 to Jimmie Kerr Road, the DOT said.

There’s a lot of controversy over the release of the C.I.A. papers about waterboarding – was it dangerous to release them? Should the C.I.A. be punished? More on this coming up.