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WNIJ News 'Public Radio 101' Seminar Helps Participants Prepare For The Future

WNIJ Public Radio 101 alumni, from left: Zachary Erickson; Austin Hansen, Kaitlynn Smith, Patrick Smith, Michelle Kittling-Brewer, Lindsey Park, Alexandria Wilks, Phil Masterton, Elizabeth Liebentritt, Scott Desavouret, Patrick DeGeorge, Loreal Patterson

A total of 12 participants completed the inaugural WNIJ News “Public Radio 101” seminar, held over the September evenings at the Northern Illinois University Broadcast Center.

Credit WNIJ News
Michelle Kittling-Brewer records a short news story in a WNIJ production studio as part of the inaugural WNIJ Public Radio 101 seminar.

The class included two students from Kishwaukee College and two NIU staff members as well as eight NIU students at various stages of pursuing degrees in the communications field. All of them expressed interest in pursuing careers in the journalism or communications fields.

“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 also 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.

Some alumni have worked with the WNIJ News team on selected projects since and can be considered for internships in a future term.

The next session of “Public Radio 101” is scheduled for three Monday evenings next semester: Jan. 23, Jan. 30, and Feb. 6.