As regular readers of this blog may know, I'm news director at WNRN, and thus responsible for getting news readers behind the microphone. More importantly, I'm responsible for getting volunteers to give up some of their time in order to be on the radio. I'd like to make the case once more for why you should at least consider this opportunity.
Newsreading is an awesome responsibility, and the model at WNRN is one with a lot of merit. Citizen/volunteer news readers, making sense of the world and writing quick blurbs so listeners can be informed about what's going on. More people should know how to do this, so that they can know exactly what goes into a good newscast, and what the "news" actually is. That will then allow them to demand more from other outlets.
To read the news, you must be fair, objective, and thorough. Newsreading at WNRN is not an opportunity to have your own personal soapbox. Many a volunteer has been let go for doing this.
WNRN has thousands of listeners each morning. These folks are mostly seeking music to get their day going, but the station has a commitment to keeping its listeners informed. That's where you would come in.
We do 10 newsbreaks each morning, and three in the afternoon. In the morning, that means you need at least three sets of stories, each to be delivered in less than ninety seconds.
The first story of any set is a local or state story, followed by a national, and then an international story. I know more about what's happening in the world then I used to.
As WNRN keeps getting bigger, the definition of a local news story also changes. We're now on in Richmond, Lynchburg, Lexington and Harrisonburg in addition to Charlottesville. The station is only going to increase its reach.
So, why should you consider volunteering? Well, if you're interested in the world, and letting other people know what's going on, this is a great way to help others.
The Hook had an article this week in which Ralph Nader described the poor state of local news. I'm not saying that what we do on WNRN is the solution. But, I am saying that if you think local news is bad, this is your chance to at least understand some of the pressures under which news is made.
Thanks to cvillenews.com, I've been closely reading the ongoing controversy regarding how NBC29 treated one of their anchors. I'd like to think that some of the people who are most passionate in their criticisms would step forward and spend time in this position.
I don't watch local television news, because the commercial model sensationalizes the news. Radio news is much different, and it's an art form that is sadly underrated in American society. You have the same need for brevity, without the crutch of using images to tell your story. That means you need tight, concise writing.
If you step up to the plate and consider becoming a volunteer, you'll get the necessary training. I'll share my experience with you.
Please forward this entry on to anyone you think might be interested. I'm looking for high school students, college students, people in the work-force, the self-employed, the retired, anyone with an interest in broadcast journalism.
Please contact me via this blog for more info, or feel free to ask questions in the comments.