WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Strengthening the Bond with Audiences

Oct 6, 2015

Columbia Journalism Review recently ran a piece regarding the need for newsrooms to build stronger ties with their communities so they can do a better job determining  what local audiences expect. 

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said she’s tried to do that while overseeing News3 at Western Illinois University.  She said she implemented a beat system and feels the newscast quality improved greatly.  Crighton also said students have learned by stepping off campus to cover local government, police briefing, and more.

Jonathan Ahl said the corporate model has resulted in less of a community presence for many stations.  He feels the article was a call for broadcasters to go out and get involved in their communities.  He also said it was not uncommon in the past for stations to invite the public into their facilities, but that’s often no longer the case.

Rich Egger said stations once encouraged engagement by airing commentaries, either by station management or community members, but few stations still do that.  And he was struck by the finding in the CJR article that audiences would like to see more follow up stories.

Crighton said fewer stations might be doing follow up stories because of staff turnover –institutional memory no longer at exists in many newsrooms.