George Bodarky, former President of the Public Radio News Directors (“PRNDI”) has returned to the organization’s Board of Directors. He is no stranger to the organization having spent two terms as President.
Bodarky’s return to PRNDI is his first official duty since he championed a new name for the organization – the Association of Public Media Journalists (APMJ) – in 2016. He said the change was needed because of the growing number and importance of digital journalists.
He presented the idea at PRNDI’s June 24, 2016, Board meeting and it was rejected by voting members of the organization.
The 2016 vote exposed differences in what members perceive as the vision for PRNDI. At the contentious 2016 board meeting, objections to Bodarky’s idea centered on dropping the word “radio” from the organization’s name.
After Bodarky formally proposed the name change, there was stiff resistance by some PRNDI members. One voting member, Brian O'Keefe, News Director of WDCB in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, said:
“I recognize there is new media, but this is an organization of radio journalists.”
Another voting member, Alicia Zuckerman of WLRN, said she objected to Bodarky’s proposed new name – Association of Public Media Journalists – because it did not connote PRNDI’s long-standing focus on news managers.
Other voting members disagreed. For instance, Erin Hennessey of KPLU (now KNKX) in Seattle said;
“I couldn’t love radio more, but I supported the name change because it is a bridge that brings together broadcast and digital journalists. I think the most important word in that name is journalists.”
The debate over the name change also made public that PRNDI has two kinds of dues-paying members: Those who can vote on policy decisions and those that can’t vote.
Membership in PRNDI is open to anyone but only people with the title “news director” can vote. Plus, each station gets one vote. Critics of PRNDI’s governance method say the “one vote” rule makes it easy for an entrenched minority of members to run the whole show.
PRNDI claims it represents over 1,100 full-time working journalists at 120 public radio stations. These includs news managers, digital editors, reporters, and producers. Also included in the membership are 200-plus part-time journalists, educators, consultants, and trainers. However, less than 100 members can vote.
Bodarky advocated the name change to signal a strategic expansion of the scope of the organization’s purpose.
In January 2016 told Spark News:
“To the outside world, the name ‘PRNDI’ indicates we’re simply a ‘club’ of public radio news directors. But, as those of us on the inside know, PRNDI is an organization that represents all journalists in public radio newsrooms.”
Bodarky is News Director of WFUV, New York. He is filling the term of another board member, Deanna Garcia, who left public radio.
NO WORD ABOUT A BANKRUPTCY DECISION BY PACIFICA
This ominous memo was distributed internally at Pacifica:
Pacifica National Board
Monday, October 9, 2017
9:30 PM ET
Monday, October 9, 2017
9:30 PM ET
Reason for Emergency Meeting:
To discuss a financial issues that require immediate attention and possible action by the board, and which of necessity make it impracticable to provide notice.
This special meeting is called by Directors Nancy Sorden, Maskeelah Washington, and Jim Brown.
There has been no announcement about what was discussed or whether any decisions were made.