First and foremost, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. With Thanksgiving now behind us, I wanted to focus my report on preparing for 2019.
By INBA President Josh Morgan
First and foremost, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. With Thanksgiving now behind us, I wanted to focus my report on preparing for 2019. As I'm sure many of you know, or have been told, 2019 might be a little tight for commercial broadcasters when it comes to money. Whether that is in the form of operating expenses or potential capital investments, 2019 will undoubtedly be a little less robust than 2018. A billionaire and almost-billionaire race for Governor always helps, doesn't it?
The reason I wanted to bring it up was because that doesn't mean the journalism has to suffer. Sure, we would all like a few more resources to be able to accomplish some bigger projects in 2019, but that doesn't mean we can't be effective. I am in the middle of building an operating plan for 2019 right now and my focus has moved from bigger projects to how to focus on the quality of content. Rather than 2019 being a tough year, I see it as an opportunity, and I would implore all of you journalists out there to take the same approach. We can't afford to take a year off of important reporting because money is tight.
Photo by Lee Milner
Of course, I know this idea hits close to home in Macomb, as Western Illinois University has cut off funding to Tri States Public Radio. Everything I just said above rings hollow when it's money that is truly the only thing standing in the way of quality journalism. I spoke with our Executive Secretary, Rich Egger, the News Director at Tri States Public Radio, who told me TSPR had a very successful Giving Tuesday campaign in which they started a major fundraising effort to make up for the $660,000 in funding cut by Western Illinois University. Most importantly, Rich says the station will continue to exist. He says the full-time employees who remain with the station are determined to keep TSPR on the air and reporting important news.
And the reporting they are doing, specifically the reporting on their own university, cannot be done without. Egger recently reported on OMA violations committed by WIU's Board of Trustees and administration. And that reporting continues today as the Attorney General's Office is reviewing other closed door meetings called to question by TSPR. You can see Egger's original report here. Whether the money is tight for you in 2019 or you are literally fighting to stay on the air, this is a year where we can all step back and remember why we got into this profession and how important our jobs are to the people we serve.
In other news, as they say, we are all set for our winter board meeting in January. We will be meeting on Saturday, January 12 at 10:30 a.m. at WEEK/WHOI in East Peoria. This will be the first official board meeting with the new board and my first as president. Of course, anyone is welcome to attend these board meetings if they have interest in joining us. I hear Peoria is beautiful in January!
And before I go, I want to thank Brian O'Keefe for leading a Giving Tuesday fundraiser on Facebook for the IllinoisNewsBroadcasters Foundation. A really great idea to help raise money for the foundation. Thank you, Brian.
INBA is an organization that really caters to continuing education for professionals. It offers a relatively inexpensive way to learn new things, reinforce best practices and network.
The support INBA gives to student journalists is vitally important as we all discover how technology is changing news dissemination, INBA monitors and actively encourages truth, transparency and accountability from students and their universities.
When I was working in radio for the first time, I had no idea whether I could truly handle the demands. But INBA made me curious and want to improve. Even now, when I’ve maybe worked a lot of hours or planned some stories that didn’t come together for one reason or another, what I learn from an INBA conference gets me re-invigorated about the business.
INBA played a huge part in preparing me for my broadcasting career. The INBA conventions connect students with on-air talent and news directors who give feedback on now to improve your work. Through relationships I made at those conventions, I was able to obtain my first on air reporting job.
One of my top goals in my career was to get to Chicago. Thanks to INBA I met Margaret Larkin. She remembered our great conversations about Chicago and first alerted me to a job opening in the city I might be interested in. Lo and behold, I got that job! INBA helped me reach my dream.
One of the greatest benefits for me has been getting to see and know other parts of the state. I’m not from Illinois and traveling to spring and fall conventions over the years has transformed dots on a map to memories of places that enhance my story telling process.
INBA taught me how to network in a meaningful way. The scholarship process taught me how to endure a hard job interview and thrive.
INBA is not only a great networking tool, it also provides advocacy and support for journalists in an ever-changing world.
As a student, it's often difficult to picture what working in the real world will be like. For me, the INBA bridged that gap by giving me the chance to talk to professionals who used to be in the same shoes I'm in now.
INBA is as much about friendship and as it is about achieving common goals. It provides two things individual newsrooms cannot: in-service training, and the ability to speak out on issues affecting the profession. But most of all, it brings newspeople together.
“I recently attended my first INBA conference—and it won’t be my last. The combination of professional and student journalists learning together is electric. Everyone learns from each other and walks away with new friends (and LinkedIn connections). I know I did.”
Joining the INBA was one of my best life decisions. I met some of the best broadcast journalists while I was still a college student. Plus, I ended up getting a job through the connections I made!