CAB MINUTES: OCTOBER 2012
CAB Members: Joyce Lannert, ReneeCherow-O’Leary, Shavonne Johnson, Beth Knobel, MJ Robinson, Kate Rath, Lue Ann Eldar
WNYC Board of Trustees CAB Liaison: Ellen Polaner
WNYC Senior Director of Community Engagement & Audience Development: Brenda Williams-Butts
Absent CAB Members: Matt Bancroft, Dan Barnett, Michael Bauman, John DeWitt,Elinor Fuchs, Lisa Labrado, Sarah Lenigan, Judith MoldoverCholst, Harriett Olson, Steven Rapkin, and David Tereshchuk
Doug Doyle, WBGO News Director
Lee Keough, Managing Editor NJ Spotlight
Nancy Solomon, Managing Editor NJ Public Radio
Jim Schachter, VP of News WNYC
Debbie Galant, Director of the NJ News Commons Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University
Steven Johnson, J.D. Professor of Communications and Media Montclair State University, and
Panel Chair - Dr. Renee Cherow-O’Leary (Research Committee Chair and NYPR CAB Member) opened the meeting.
Opening Statements From Panelists
Nancy Solomon - Detailed the acquisition of NJPR stations by NYPR. This acquisition will support and boost coverage of all New Jersey news organizations since there will be more reporters to gather news and there will be cooperative efforts between NYPR and NJPR. Nancy Solomon also highlighted the upcoming collaborative Schools Project. The Schools Project will take an in-depth look at school reform at the local, state, and national level. NJ Spotlight, NJ Public Radio and an Education Journal out of Teacher Collegewill follow the Quitman Street Community School in Newark and as they go through school reform.
Jim Schachter - Discussed how NJPR is a news service in the process of developing its own NJ-centric news cast. NYPR will invest in coverage that is focused on NJ and will be hiring two more reporters for NJ news coverage. NYPR is intent on investing in NJ journalism by partnering with local NJ resources such as NJ Spotlight, Montclair State, and The Star-Ledger.
Debbie Galant - Explainedhow NJ News Commons shares their Knight grant with NJPR because it was applied for jointly. They are looking to get the NJ news eco-system to work cooperatively together. The future is to have an embedded newsfeed for articles to be on other news sites beyond just linking sites. Galant currently holds Learning Lunches, which are panels with WNYC and local NJ journalists. These Learning Lunches can be watched through streaming on YouTube through her blog and they actively monitor comments as the panels take place in order to interact with the public who cannot attend. In another collaborative project - Hackathon - journalists will be working with coding teams to come up with new ideas for presenting news data.
Lee Keough-Discussed NJ Spotlight,which is a policy and issue based online news service founded in 2010 by journalists who were affected by the cuts from other news organization. It does in-depth reporting strictly online and is a part of the NJ News Commons at the Center for Cooperative Media.
Jim Schachter - Emphasized that without quality reporting all this content that is available is nothing. He focused on the point that content needsreporting before it can have context and be distributed.
Steve Johnson -Discussed how current journalism students are not getting hard reporting training. Many are focused on being entertainment or television news journalists. Journalists now have to be able to do everything write edit, publish/distribute online, and be present on social media.
Doug Doyle - Highlighted that when more news outlets are covering an area then more, and better quality, information will become available to people. This will make more people held accountable at all levels. On election night, Doyle will be at Montclair State and have access to other reporting resources that are usually not available to him as a sole reporter - feedback from students, social media feedback from Debbie Galant at Center for Cooperative Media, etc., and then the consumers will benefit from this cooperative effort.
Renee read email comments from Martha Bonta, Executive Producer of Live Events and Special Programming at WQXR, who could not attend the Interface meeting. Bonta said WQXR has been attentive to NJ arts with coverage of the New Jersey Symphony, Orchestra for a New Century, operatic events around the state, and the Peak Performances concerts at the Kessler Theater. WQXR also list NJ events in their online calendar and in the Weekender.
Trends/Changes in Journalism
Debbie Galant - Highlighted how hyper local sites like Patch (sponsored by AOL); Barista.net; Pharmalot.com (a spinoff of the Star-Ledger that covers the pharmaceutical industry in NJ and around the world); WeirdNJ.com (about local NJ lore) are the future. WeirdNJ.com has 65,000 followers on his Facebook page and uses crowdsourcing to follow major local events in NJ like the Hurricane, snow storm, etc.
Lee Keough- Noted that NJ Spotlight shares content with local bloggers as well.
Steve Johnson - Posed that the real question is, “How do we find funding to pay reporters salaries beyond grants?”
Jim Schachter - Stated how citizen journalism is a great notion, but journalists need to figure out how to give focused assignments to the community like Brian Lehrer does on his show.
Debbie Galant- Highlighted what is known as “The Slow News Movement”, which combats the trend of the sped-up news cycle. This is a journalistic approach that takes time to do research before jumping out and reporting on a story.
Steve Johnson-Discussed how competition is no longer the same because consumers have newsreaders and are pulling stories from all types of news sources these days. Consumers do not care as much about where they are getting their media from because newsfeeds are pulling from multiple news outlets.
Future Plans for NJ Stations
Nancy Solomon -Detailed that the current plans are to hire more reporters and to do what they feel public radio can do best which is getting more in-depth reporting and presenting it in a compelling way that is interesting to listen to. Then, there is the collaboration with the Star-Ledger. This collaboration may not be on breaking news or investigating stories, but perhaps, as an example, usingreporter from the Star-Ledger on air to elaborate on the story they broke earlier in the Ledger that NJPR may not have the resources to cover first.
Diversity of Coverage in NJ
Doug Doyle - Highlighted that the more people a news organization has getting into communities the more there will be to report. The more diverse an audience, then the more inside information you have to tap. Local news and public radio sources have the time to tell the stories that television cannot tell. The language barrier is also something that has to be addressed.
Jim Schachter - Detailed that this is something that they see needs to be addressed. There are other ethnic communities that need to be covered despite cultural and language barriers. Jim Schachter has had discussions with WNYC Reporter ArunVenugopal about his program,Micropolis, which is a good example of reaching out to wider segments of the listening area.
Question and Comment Period from the Audience
Q: Audience Member (Maplewood, NJ) - Are we going to hear more NJ news out of WNYC FM?
A: Jim Schachter - The bulk of our NJ reporting will be out of WNYC and more coverage of Governor Chris Christie will take place.
Q: Audience Member - Our population is international - will there be more international coverage?
A: Doug Doyle –Posed the questions: What can be done to make sure the media is aware of the areas that need coverage all around the world? And, what percentage of listeners is actually interested in hearing more international news? These are question taken into consideration by news organizations when deciding what and how often something gets covered.
A: Jim Schachter, Doug Doyle - NYPR is already giving more international coverage than the average station because it feeds from BBC and NPR. And the NJ and NY area is a story that should be covered from the perspective of being a global center.
Comment: Audience Member - I think we are drowning in micro-blogging and minutiae at the expense of larger and more important stories.
A: Jim Schachter-Has asked reporters in WNYC newsroom to look to a higher horizon and that is why they are focused on enterprise journalism at NYPR. There is audience loyalty to NYPR because of their in-depth news coverage.
Q: BethKnobel (CAB Member) - Certain journalism such as watchdog journalism has sharply declined. How do you change the mindset of the for-profit media to work collaboratively?
A: Doug Doyle - Well, it all comes down to economics. Hopefully, good journalistic efforts will take hold and the public will demand more.
Comment: Audience Member - Diversity in your newsroom and editorial staff is essential it is hard to tell a story from the outside. Chats and comments sections are where the cross-cultural and international connections and dialogues are now taking place.
Comment: Audience Member - Perhaps a new business model needs to be considered. News sources can come together and aggregate endowment funds, so that funding is not so dependent on one source.
Jim Schachter- The WNYC model has succeeded, which shows excellent leadership, but also an excellent product. The NY Times did a story that Morning Edition is the most listened to morning show in the nation (bigger than Good Morning America), so that shows what excellence can do.
Comment: Audience Member - Collaboration leads to all products blossoming and collaboration should be encouraged with stations down south in NJ as well.
Jim Schachter- WHYY has just signed on to carry Brian Lehrer’s one hour pre-coverage of the debates, which is a great sign of collaboration.
Comment: Chris Daggett, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, was in the audience. He commented that the challenge for all of us is to look at different business models to figure out how to monetize because foundations are not bottom-less pits, so we need to move away from private foundation support. Hopefully, people will see the value of quality news and be willing to pay for it. Subscription based funding like WNYC helps give a balance. Although, it will probably never be all funded by individual generosity.
Renee ended the meeting by thanking the panelists for their contribution to the discussion.