Former NPR president visits Kent State

Caitlyn Wachovec

Kevin Klose, president of National Public Radio Foundation and former president of NPR, made a pit stop from his tour of WKSU to visit Franklin Hall yesterday afternoon.

He visited the new home of Kent State journalists to catch a glimpse of the Black Squirrel Radio, TV2 and Daily Kent Stater newsroom. Klose spoke with faculty and students and made it a point to meet everyone in the newsroom, top editors and reporters alike.

WKSU was gracious enough to ask Klose to fit this tour into his schedule, student media manager Lori Cantor said.

“He was really engaging,” she said.

Klose compared NPR’s transition to multimedia to the convergence between Kent State’s student media. The Daily Kent Stater, TV2 and Black Squirrel Radio share a newsroom in Franklin Hall, which enables the student media groups to collaborate on stories.

“Where (Kent State is) headed is exactly where NPR wants to go, so we’re going to let you lead the way,” Klose said.

NPR’s radio and audio staff embraced the multimedia changes, and Klose has found most writers are enjoying certain benefits that come with convergence. He said the staff enjoys writing blogs and podcasting because they can express themselves in their own terms, and they get personal feedback from readers.

Though NPR more than doubled its national audience in the 10 years Klose was president, he knows the economic decline will bring hard times to NPR.

“We will have trouble with revenue at NPR,” Klose said. He added NPR needs to make it clear to listeners that as a non-profit organization, it needs donations to support its programming and multimedia content.

Despite the troubles ahead, Klose looks back fondly at his time at NPR and looks forward to the future of mass media.

“It’s been a great, great decade, both personally and professionally,” he said.

Klose believes a system of more serious and higher quality journalism has emerged as a product of the support given to NPR. NPR, in turn, educates its listeners.

“To be a great society, we have to have access to information,” Klose said.

Contact ROTC reporter Caitlyn Wachovec at [email protected].