Tri States Public Radio last week reported on Western Illinois University's decision to zero out TSPR's funding as of March 1, 2019. At least one WIU administrator was shocked the radio station reported the story.
Shop Talk panelist Rich Egger is surprised anyone would say something so ridiculous. He said it’s not unheard of for a news organization to report on itself. For example, just this year NPR reported on sexual harassment allegations made against Senior Vice President for News Michael Oreskes.
Egger said he was not “getting personal” when he asked questions and reported on what’s happening with TSPR. He said the news department strives to report on issues of interest to the audience and he thinks the station’s future is definitely of interest to its listeners.
Panelist Jasmine Crighton said NBC News reported on the sexual harassment allegations made against one of its biggest stars, Matt Lauer. She said there was no way the news department could have looked the other way – the story had to be reported.
Crighton also said there is already a shortage of journalists working in the tri states. She said the region could become a news desert without TSPR on hand to report stories and help train young journalists.
Panelist Will Buss said he knows WIU must make tough decisions due to its financial problems but he thinks defunding TSPR is a drastic decision that could cost the university dearly.
Buss said TSPR is pretty much the only game in town when it comes to local journalism. He feels the WIU administration has not given a satisfactory explanation of how it reached the decision regarding TSPR.
Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.