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Campus Participates in New College Radio Network

OCT. 13, 2006--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is one of eight universities participating in a statewide college radio news network thought by organizers to be the first of its kind.

The Wisconsin Broadcaster Association College Radio News Network is designed to offer student journalists and Wisconsin broadcasters a valuable resource. The network functions like a news feed service with student radio reports and public service announcements that have mass appeal uploaded as MP3 audio files to a shared Web site.

The WBA provided financial support to get the project off the ground and also provided assistance from its Web designer for developing the site.

Six months after the network was proposed by UW-Milwaukee lecturer Maryann Lazarski, it is well on its way to fulfilling its mission as a resource, according to Sandy Ellis, associate professor of journalism at UWRF.

The Wisconsin Radio Network and its 50 commercial radio affiliates have partnered with the WBA College Radio News Network. As a result WRN stations will be able to access student-produced stories and sound bites to use on their air.

"I'm a big believer that students need to gain experience right away before they enter the job market," said Bob Hague, news director at WRN.

Ellis agrees: "It's absolutely a win/win situation. The students get the experience of producing news stories that will not only air in the River Falls area, but potentially could be heard all over Wisconsin."

Hague said the network is particularly valuable in these times of tight broadcast budgets. "Anything that we can make available to our affiliates, in terms of sound, coverage, and color [commentary] are good things for us and our affiliates," he said.

WRFW FM 88.7, UWRF's public radio affiliate, has already submitted one report and has others in progress, said Ellis.

"The story about Governor Doyle's visit received great reviews," said WRFW News Director Tara Sowle, a junior journalism major from Tomah, Wis.

Student journalists recognize the long-term benefits from network involvement. "This experience will not only allow us at UWRF to have a better news cast, but it will also get our own stories and voices to a wider audience," said WRFW producer Melissa Latourelle, a senior journalism major from Hastings, Minn. "That is the kind of exposure and experience that can make a difference after graduation."

WRFW reporter Anjali Ranieri, a senior journalism major from St. Paul, believe that hearing other students' work will help her be a better journalist. "We all benefit from hearing others' stories," said Ranieri, "because we pick up on new things that make their newscasts sound good and then can incorporate them into our newscasts to improve them."

Minnesota Public Radio reporter Art Hughes heard about the network at the national meeting of the Society of Professional Journalists in Chicago in August. "It's a happy marriage between old-school media and a more flexible, digital world. It's a great outlet for radio producers and a more comprehensive resource for listeners."

SPJ's Quill magazine will feature a profile on the network in the October/November issue.

In addition to the feed service, a half-hour program is under construction. It will feature the "best of" stories from the network schools in addition to talk and carry segments ranging from the best college bands to the hottest high-tech gear. The program's production will rotate between member schools each semester; currently it is housed at UW-Madison. The first program is tentatively slated for late November and will be available for all member schools to air on their radio stations and Web sites.

The schools participating in the network in addition to UWRF are UW-Milwaukee, UW-Madison, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Whitewater, UW-Eau Claire, Marquette University in Milwaukee and Lawrence University in Appleton.



Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:07:40 Central Daylight Time


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