Meet a Member: Dana Vollmer

As part of our 'Meet a Member' profiles, get to know one of our newest INBA board members, Dana Vollmer. Vollmer is a reporter at WCBU Public Radio in Peoria.

As part of our 'Meet a Member' profiles, get to know one of our newest INBA board members, Dana Vollmer. Vollmer is a reporter at WCBU Public Radio in Peoria. Before that, she covered the Illinois Capitol for NPR Illinois. Vollmer also has a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield. 

1) What got you interested in joining INBA?

I joined INBA at the suggestion of my more experienced (and wiser) colleagues. One conference and I was hooked. The educational components help fill in gaps in broadcast expertise that journalism school doesn’t teach. It’s exciting to spend time with other folks in the industry who you’d only previously known from their byline. It’s also really valuable to hear about what’s happening elsewhere around the state –– not just in your own backyard.

2) For you, what are the benefits of being a part of INBA?

INBA has been at the center of every major career move I’ve made so far. I joined as a part-time producer while I was finishing my bachelor’s. I met Charlie Wheeler at an INBA conference, which led me to graduate school –– something I never thought I’d have the opportunity to pursue. When it came time to apply for my first full-time reporting gig, the first place I turned to folks I’d connected with through INBA and the Illinois Public Radio network –– and it paid off. Above all, the best benefit of being a part of INBA is the people who continually inspire and support me.

3) What got you interested in journalism and why is it important to you?

Journalism appealed to me because it allows you to learn and explore every day. It leads you to so many subjects, places and people you otherwise might not have paid attention to. It’s also a job that centers public service. Journalists can be mediators between community members and the information they need –– answering questions when they don’t know where else to turn, arming them with the knowledge to make informed decisions and helping to hold those in power accountable.

4) Why did you choose to pursue news radio and what do you love most about it? 

I’ve wanted to work for NPR since I was in school. I’d grown to love public radio because of its ability to let subjects speak for themselves and to make listeners feel like they know a person or place. I also loved how seamlessly people could work into their lives –– catching up on the news during their commute or listening to their favorite podcast while cooking dinner. I loved learning about international affairs, music, arts and culture on top of what’s happening right down the street. I also loved feeling connected to the people delivering the information –– and knew I wanted to be a part of that. 

5) What advice do you have for young people considering a career in broadcast news?

Everyone belongs in the newsroom.  Journalism is an industry that’s long lacked inclusivity and poorly reflected the community it’s designed to serve. Don’t be intimidated or turned off by the status quo –– the news needs your voice. Also keep in mind that any skill can be learned. If you’re passionate about telling stories that matter, all of the writing, voicing, editing, etc. will fall into place with time…and a good editor.

Alexis McAdams

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.

Jennifer Fuller

INBA is not only a great networking tool, it also provides advocacy and support for journalists in an ever-changing world.

Mike Miletich

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!

Michelle Eccles McLaughlin

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.

Nora Baldner

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.

Molly Jirasek

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.

Jeff Bossert

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.

Ryan Denham

“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.”

Andrew Tanielian

INBA taught me how to network in a meaningful way. The scholarship process taught me how to endure a hard job interview and thrive.

Brian O'Keefe

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.

Aaron Eades

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.

Bob Roberts

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.

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