Tuesday, March 14, 2006

WBUR: Trust, but Verify

Thanks to CHENer Nick Harris for this post...


The CHEN PR “dawn patrol," consisting of Barb Heffner, Randy Wambold, Juli Greenwood and me, made a rain-soaked early-morning journey to the WBUR studio in Boston to volunteer on the phones as part of the station's most recent fundraiser. (WBUR is our local NPR affiliate.)

The CHEN team was joined by representatives from a range of local universities and businesses as well as individuals who felt compelled to give back to the news. With a total of $55,000 raised in one hour, the effort was an enormous success.

This isn’t to say of course that there wasn’t anything in it for us, as CHEN PR was recognized multiple times on-air for the contribution, the group was granted behind-the-scenes access to the 'BUR studios, and personal thanks from legendary hosts Bob Oakes, Tom Ashbrook, Robin Young and news director John Davidow.

Principal Barb Heffner later commented on the experience: “WBUR really reached out to us and both Mr. Davidow and several of the on-air personalities were very generous with their time. We’ll do it again. And if the economy keeps warming up, perhaps we can get back to underwriting. I’m so happy to have other 'news for nerds' devotees here at the agency to support WBUR."

Promoting CHEN PR and supporting one of the most trusted local news sources made for an extremely rewarding morning, and something that Davidow said sparked some thought after leaving the studios. In response to a question regarding 'BUR's reliance on the blogosphere, he said that although they do monitor some blogging networks very closely, they are relatively conservative, that news is something organic, and that in this regard, WBUR follows Damon Runyan's advice to: “Trust, but verify.” (If you think that former President Reagan said it first, Wikiquote will set you straight.)

In our increasingly complex and multifaceted media environment, this is an excellent philosophy for a news editor, and one that will reinforce my support for this station.


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