Strategies for sustaining student media in times of crisis
Student reporters in KCPR, using remote technologies, continued producing and broadcasting live news on-air throughout the pandemic and during subsequent disruptions. This qualitative case study examines the remote strategies adopted by the station in the lockdown to determine what should remain, with two goals in mind: keeping broadcast student media going in a future crisis and better equipping journalism graduates. Semi-structured interviews with graduates who were part of the radio news team before, during and after the pandemic reveal that they acquired and refined crucial soft skills during their remote student media experience. The graduates report that their experience equipped them for a “new normal” in the workplace. They described gaining such soft skills as confidence, resilience and adaptability as well as improved organization, communication and collaboration. While in-person reporting is preferred, blending remote work, and the technologies that support it, into student media makes the organization more resilient and better prepares students for transformed newsrooms.
An atmospheric river flowed across the college town of San Luis Obispo, closing the university for the first two days of the 2023 winter quarter. The massive rainfall and flooding killed two people and created dangerous conditions across the county. The storm also meant student reporters could not safely get to the campus radio station to report weather related news, vital to the local audience. The student radio news team resorted to what they learned in the COVID-19 lockdown—doing news remotely.
Approximately one-third of college radio stations went off the air in 2020 (Knopper 2020), and of those that continued broadcasting, most relied on automated playlists as students were unable to physically access campus studios (Minsker and Yoo 2020). While music and entertainment content broadcast on radio has value, live news is critically important in a crisis. Media organizations must develop strategies to provide news coverage during an event that prevents journalists from accessing newsrooms.
Through the COVID-19 lockdown, California Polytechnic State University’s broadcast news program developed methods for student reporters to remotely produce and report live news over the airwaves. When the catastrophic storm hit in early 2023, the student radio news team again used the remote reporting strategies developed in the pandemic to deliver vital weather coverage to their audience.
The goal of this qualitative case study is to explore how broadcast student media at Cal-Poly responded to the global pandemic and to identify strategies that student media advisers should retain to prepare for future disruptions. While this study endeavors to examine Cal Poly’s student media practices, the intent is also to provide information that may be transferable to other universities’ student media organizations.
Many student media advisers just want to forget the past several years and get back to “normal,” but there is an opportunity to learn from the pandemic and the strategies that advisers employed to get through it. Not only did COVID-19 upend student media, it also upended professional journalism. And while student media advisers are returning to a “new normal,” the news industry is doing the same. Most newsrooms returned to in-person work while retaining some remote work, as Zoom meetings, Slack messages, Google Docs and other virtual shared work platforms became part of this new normal (Heyward 2021; Denoulet 2021; Dool 2020; Margolis and Condon 2021; Sherman 2021; Tornoe 2022; Waterson 2021). The Reuters Institute surveyed 246 media leaders in 52 countries and reported that hybrid news work is now the norm, with some news organizations transitioning to fully remote operation (Newman 2022).
In hybrid newsrooms, in-person news routines are now blended with technology-based distance work (Heyward 2021; Denoulet 2021; Margolis and Condon 2021). Meetings are conducted via video conferencing software like Zoom, and technology connects remote news workers in virtual workspaces. Reporters are gathering information through video conferencing, email, text messages and doing on-air interviews on Zoom or other platforms (Dool 2020; Sherman 2021; Tornoe 2022). Journalism graduates who enter this transformed workplace will need some proficiency in remote work routines. As the journalism industry establishes its new normal by reconfiguring newsrooms and news work, the question arises, how should student media organizations adjust to properly prepare journalism graduates who will enter this new hybrid or blended workplace?
Recent scholarship has examined how higher education responded to the abrupt, emergency transition to online, identifying both challenges and opportunities (Turnbull, Chugh and Luck 2021). Student media advisers must also turn their attention to what they can learn and retain from that response to inform practices in a post-pandemic world. The pandemic provides an opportunity for advisers to rethink how student media operates, and how the experience can better equip graduates for a transformed workplace.
A 2020 survey shows that 62% of student media advisers are tenured or tenure track faculty (Kopenhaver, Smith and Biehl 2021). Even though all advisers are not instructors, they all teach. The College Media Association’s “New Adviser Handbook” lists 14 things an adviser does; giving advice and teaching are the top two (Ingelhart 1997). Although the learning happens outside the classroom, student media is a place of learning, and thus, just as educators reexamine practices post-pandemic, so too can advisers. Student media newsrooms provide experiential, or learn-by-doing, opportunities to prepare graduates for the workplace. Journalism programs often struggle to keep up with rapid changes in industry (Sivek 2013; Lynch 2014) and there has long been disagreement about the proper balance of theory, practice and skills in journalism education (Solkin 2022; Walck, Cruikshank and Kalyango 2015). Beyond the classroom, student media offers a place where participants can practice and develop professional skills.
Cal Poly’s student media operates within the university’s overarching learn-by-doing pedagogy defined as “a deliberate process whereby students, from day one, acquire knowledge and skills through active engagement and self-reflection inside the classroom and beyond it” (“Learn by Doing” 2011). John Dewey was one of the first to describe a learn-by-doing pedagogy that locates learning in doing the thing that is being learned (Dewey 1997). Seymour Papert built on Dewey’s ideas by explaining that learning occurs when students co-construct an artifact, reflect on it, and share it publicly (Parmaxi, Zaphiris and Ioannou 2016).
Whether on a polytechnic learn-by-doing campus or not, all student media provides experiential learning. Student media newsrooms mirror the real world and create a space where students can acquire and hone both hard and soft skills. A nationwide survey of human resource managers reveals a talent shortage attributed to a lack of soft skills that more than half the respondents said higher education was not doing enough to address (Burner et al. 2019). Hard skills refer to the ability to perform a task such as operate a machine (Cimatti 2016; Whitmore 1974), or in the case of student media, operate technology to perform tasks. When the U.S. military first defined the term “soft skills,” it referred to “important job-related skills that involve little or no interaction with machines and whose application on the job is quite generalized” (Whitmore 1974, 12). The term “soft skills” has numerous definitions (Matteson, Anderson and Boyden 2016) and is broadly described as the skills needed to collaborate or work well with colleagues (Cimatti 2016). Soft skills valued for journalism include “interpersonal communication, working in a team, and time management” (Bluestein, Haynes and Zheng 2019, 41). The learn-by-doing student media experience, using technology as students did during the pandemic, presents the opportunity for students to acquire soft skills now valued in newsrooms. Considering the upheaval in industry and higher education, this study is an opportunity to examine students’ reflections on what worked (and didn’t) when doing news remotely, so that advisers may better understand how to use technology to improve student media practices.
KCPR 91.3 FM News
In the Cal Poly journalism department’s student media organization, Mustang Media Group, students learn by doing in KCPR 91.3 FM, the radio lab. The study’s investigators are MMG advisers, one who oversees KCPR’s paid student management team of six and a volunteer staff of about 60. When the university sent everyone home abruptly in March 2020, the MMG radio news team was broadcasting live news remotely on-air five days a week, often from their bedrooms, using both new and newly adopted technology. Students, physically located in cities across California and the U.S., were reporting news live from their homes during a global health crisis, at a time when journalism was arguably critically important to the public.
Applications such as the shared cloud-based newswriting program Rundown Creator, Google Docs, Slack and Trello created a workspace, a virtual newsroom, where students asynchronously worked together to produce the weekday newscasts. The audio programs Cleanfeed and Zetta2GO, paired with Zoom and SoundCloud, formed a virtual studio space where students gathered synchronously to broadcast their newscasts. The radio news team used Zoom to conduct and capture interviews for news stories. Students communicated using Slack and group text messages. They coordinated content and coverage using the workflow application Trello. To broadcast live on-air, the team gathered in the virtual studio space connected remotely from their various locations by two audio programs, Zetta2GO, part of the station’s automation program, and a free version of Cleanfeed, an internet-based audio application.
With this combination of technology, KCPR operated remotely through 2020. During subsequent transitions, back and forth between in-person and remote, the station fell back on remote broadcasting each time. Even after fully returning in-person, there were frequent instances of students participating remotely because they had been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, were awaiting test results, and various other pandemic-related reasons—including stress and anxiety. With each disruption, the remote broadcast strategies developed during the lockdown kept the radio programming going. These practices persist. KCPR leverages technology to blend remote work and in-person routines, either to accommodate individual students, case-by-case, or (in the event of a crisis such as the winter storm) the whole news team.
Qualitative case study is the appropriate approach to examine practices in the radio station from the student perspective because this “methodology provides tools for researchers to study complex phenomena within their contexts” (Baxter and Jack 2008, 544). Furthermore, this methodology capitalizes on the investigators’ position as professors, advisers and insiders in the radio station with in-depth knowledge of the program and access to the participants, documents, and work product for data collection (Walsham 2006).
Yin’s (2003) extensive explanation of case study as a research methodology provides the foundation for this qualitative research. Yin (2003, 13) asserts that a “case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident.” This methodology is appropriate for exploring what Cal Poly’s student media did in response to the lockdown, describing how that response worked and explaining why, to inform future practices.
Social constructionist theory posits three important facets of learn-by-doing. Learners are co-constructing knowledge by creating an artifact together, reflecting on their experience by critically evaluating their work and others’ and sharing the artifact publicly (Parmaxi, Zaphiris and Ioannou 2016). In a learn-by-doing approach, students on the radio news team learn by making a newscast (artifact) together (co-constructing), which they broadcast live (shared publicly) on KCPR.
Investigators approached two distinct groups: 1) broadcast news professionals, and 2) recent Cal Poly journalism graduates. The professionals were surveyed; the recent graduates were interviewed.
To help understand the new normal that exists in newsrooms, the investigators conducted a survey of eight professional journalists (four men, four women). The responses were used to construct a picture of post-pandemic news work and what employers are seeking in graduates. The questionnaire included both multiple choice and free response questions related to in-person and remote news work and hiring preferences.
Semi-structured interviews with 12 recent graduates (six men, six women) provide both subjective and narrative descriptions of the remote student media experience during the pandemic. The same open-ended questions were posed, allowing consistency while also allowing the participants to answer authentically. It also allowed the investigators the flexibility of asking follow-up questions for clarification, which enhances the research validity. The interviews were 45 minutes to an hour in length and were conducted on Zoom, which provided a recording and transcript. Notes were taken during and directly after interviews to preserve contemporaneous observations. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit respondents for the survey and graduates for the interviews.
Graduates were identified and invited to participate from a pool of approximately 60 students who were involved in the radio station at the start of, during, and in the transition back from the pandemic. While Cal Poly’s journalism program is identified, the participants’ identities were protected. Yin (2003) provides a rationale for identifying the program while justifying anonymity for the participants. In this case, protecting the participants’ privacy ensured they could be frank in their answers without concern about criticizing the program or its instructors. Confidentiality was also provided to survey respondents. The investigators were aware that student interviews and survey responses could reveal personal information and made every effort to protect their privacy. Gender-neutral pseudonyms were used in place of names, any identifying information excluded or altered, and interviews were stored using codes rather than names. While interpretation of data is subjective, the investigators strove for accuracy in writing up the findings and checked in with participants for validation prior to publication.
The investigators are student media advisers, and one is the instructor for the department’s radio courses. It is common in qualitative studies for the researcher to be an insider and operate as both observer and participant (Yin 2003; Walsham 2006). While this close perspective has the advantage of experience with, knowledge of and access to the case under study, it also required that the investigators be cognizant of their insider position. At every turn, the investigators strove for impartiality and self-awareness throughout the process.
The method of data collection was participant observation and semi-structured interviews with 12 recent graduates. Additional data was collected by surveying eight broadcast news workers. The survey questionnaire combined multiple choice and free response questions. It was answered by eight people who were selected because they work in supervisory roles in broadcast newsrooms across California and are involved in hiring.
An open coding approach was used to analyze the interview transcripts, allowing the investigators to construct meaning from the patterns and themes that emerged from the data. To ensure methodological rigor and the quality and trustworthiness of the study, before completion, the investigators followed up with participants to validate the authenticity of the results. Data gathered from interviews was triangulated with observations and student media content to further support the credibility and dependability of the findings.
Which remote practices—such as Zoom meetings and interviews, communicating on Slack, coordinating on Trello, or broadcasting via Zetta2GO and Clean Feed—should be retained in student media broadcast programs beyond the pandemic (and why)?
Three themes emerged from the semi-structured interviews. The first theme was a new normal of blended remote and in-person work in newsrooms; this theme was also supported by the survey responses. The second was that remote work during the pandemic prepared graduates for this “new normal” in the workplace. Third was that by doing remote work during the pandemic, participants acquired and refined soft skills.
Theme #1: A new normal
The interview participants—all recent graduates—were working or had recently worked in a broadcast related job at the time of the interviews. They spoke of what several described as a “new normal.” All participants did some portion of their work remotely, had co-workers who did some work remotely, or interacted with others, internal and external to their organization, in remote ways. All described remote work as a fallback and noted the value of being prepared for and comfortable with it—for example, being able to accommodate someone who would only agree to be interviewed on Zoom. Sawyer said, “Remote learning has definitely helped me technology-wise to be prepared to immediately Zoom someone or immediately pull up a meeting and get things ready and organize stuff like that, which I probably would not really have learned or been prepared for had I not gone through online learning.”
The survey responses support those findings. The respondents, local TV and radio newsroom supervisors in hiring roles throughout California, illuminated what employers now desire in recent graduates. Except for one, these local news outlets are places recent Cal Poly journalism graduates have interned or started entry-level jobs. At the time of the survey in 2022, nearly all the respondents reported that most news work in their organization was done in-person, with some remote work. Only one respondent reported that no remote work was done in their newsroom. However, in the open response portion of the survey, all other respondents described some level of remote work done either by themselves or others in their organization. They also described a reliance on technology that enables distance collaboration, used even when employees are in the same physical location. Sixty percent of respondents did some remote work, ranging from 10% – 80% of their job. Several respondents said most news work was done in-person, with certain activities like story meetings conducted on a web conferencing platform such as Zoom. Four respondents reported that while most employees were back working in-person, one or more employees in their newsroom did all or a significant portion of their work remotely.
The survey responses revealed a picture of transformed news work in which in-person reporting and interviewing is always preferred, as it yields better-quality audio, video and reporting. However, remote interviews happened at times when necessary. Post-pandemic, other work such as meetings, internal and external communication, planning and coordination is now frequently done remotely through technology.
Theme #2: Remote work prepared students for the new normal
All of the student interviewees felt that their remote student media experience prepared them for a transformed workplace. Casey said this new normal means preparing students for “sort of like a multi-tasking, Swiss army knife sort of ordeal” where graduates need to be ready for anything. Participants felt doing student media during the pandemic instilled a sense of accomplishment, confidence, adaptability and resilience. Describing how working through the pandemic prepared them, Hunter said, “in interviews, they would ask me questions about working [remotely] and what it was like to organize myself, and to make sure that things were done efficiently, and talking on Zoom, and all of those things. I feel like I’m more equipped to host a meeting on Zoom than I am in person. Because of school, I’ve just become so used to it.” Hunter expressed a belief that if they could persevere through the conditions of a pandemic, then they could easily succeed in the work world. Dylan said, “I talk about the pandemic in every interview I’ve done with a professional organization.” Hunter, who was then working in a fully remote media job, said, “I was in the middle of college in the pandemic, so it disrupted everything. I had to figure out how to work [remotely], and now I will say that I was able to virtually work in a radio station in every job interview for the next twenty years until it’s not relevant anymore. It’s a foundational thing that I did not expect to happen, but it definitely has prepared me for the work that I’m doing.”
Theme #3: Students acquired soft skills
Both survey respondents and participants emphasized the importance of soft skills. Participants said they felt proud, confident and accomplished because they had acquired and refined soft skills which helped them get broadcast jobs. Participants reported gaining soft skills, transferable to the workplace, from the use of the news production software Rundown Creator, the workflow application Trello, and communication software Slack, GroupMe, and text messaging.
Hunter added, “Those things are super transferable, and, like I didn’t know how to use Salesforce coming into my job now, but I was able to hype up the fact that I’d used other organizational tools in school to say I can pick it up if you just show me.”
Through remote work, participants improved email and phone etiquette for communicating with co-workers and securing interviews. They refined their remote interviewing skills by using CleanFeed, Zoom, email and phone. Harper mentioned feeling proud and accomplished when a colleague complimented their ability to make people feel comfortable on Zoom during an interview.
Hunter said, “My biggest takeaway from being remote was developing my soft skills. It’s like the soft skills that you are forced to develop, working remote, are vital to any career. Because you can learn any job, it’s just whether or not you have discipline, self-awareness, organization, communication. Whether you have those skills is what gets you places.”
All but one survey respondent reported that in hiring for entry level jobs, proficiency in remote technology is valued. However, several survey respondents explained that their priority was not experience with specific software, applications and platforms, but rather familiarity with some technology and the willingness and ability to learn and self-teach. Echoing what the respondents reported, the graduates felt that knowing how to use specific technology is less important than being able to adapt quickly to new technology.
Logan said, “Overall, I do think it’s soft skills, and I think it comes down to work ethic, motivation, willingness to learn, because I think everyone can be trained to do the technological stuff.”
Several graduates said that by figuring out how to use the technology required to participate remotely in student media, they became self-learners, which made the prospect of using new technology less intimidating. Logan explained that even though they had no experience with the specific technology at their new job, their employer hired them because they had experience with remote broadcasting, which demonstrated their ability to learn.
“They’re like, you have this experience and that’s great, like don’t worry that you don’t know XYZ, we can train you,” Logan said, “so, [employers] just want to see that you have a willingness to learn what they’re doing.”
Two survey respondents described valuing “over-communication skills” because news workers are now more frequently using email and instant messaging for internal and external communication, which requires effort, organization, initiative, and being able to over-communicate. Participants also stressed the need for soft skills such as over-communication to excel in the workplace. Several noted the importance of appropriate and effective communication through Slack, Trello, message features in news production software such as Rundown Creator, ENPS and web conferencing platforms such as Teams and Zoom.
Participants said during the pandemic, they acquired transferable soft skills such as being organized, self-directed, adaptable, and able to meet deadlines.
Hunter said, “I definitely think that the skills that I’ve gained working remote are intangibles that I’ll be able to carry with me.” Hunter added that becoming accustomed to Zoom meetings improved their communication skills, “and also, organizational skills, like organizing yourself working remote because of the over-communication that is required to make sure that things run smoothly, that won’t just go away. That is part of me now.” Blake said, “Figuring out that communication aspect of it … it’s really, really tough,” but that remote work taught them how to be “a good digital, virtual communicator.”
Riley said, “It’s important to learn, to build all those skills that will be universal. Wherever you go, you’re going to be able to like, use those skills.” Riley explained that they had learned “troubleshooting, patience and problem solving” while using remote broadcast applications, adding, “you carry that with you when you’re using other apps or technologies in your job.” Riley said if you know the basics of one program, “everything is somewhat similar. You’ll be able to learn everything else, you have those skills that make it easier for you to learn new technologies, transferable skills. It’s important to be able to adapt, and I think that’s something the pandemic taught us all, to adapt.”
All participants expressed that working in student media during the pandemic prepared them for the media jobs they got after graduation. “I think it provided a lot of good base skills to have now that I’m in the workforce,” Sawyer said. “I actually think, going through all those classes and whatnot online made us stronger in-person.” The confidence, resilience, and adaptability that participants reported acquiring in the pandemic was connected to mastering the technology needed to work together remotely. Parker explained, “It somehow made me better because I figured it out by myself, and it was hard. After we came back, I thought to myself, if I could survive that … doing it all by myself, getting [Zetta2GO] all set, then I could do it in person. No problem. And it’s true.”
Post-pandemic, in this “new normal,” in-person broadcast reporting is preferred by the survey respondents and participants because the audio and video quality is higher. However, they all agreed that remote broadcast is necessary as a fallback. Participants felt that the pandemic experience had equipped them well for the new normal and recommended integrating some remote broadcast and remote work routines into student media so that students are familiar and comfortable with it and acquire valued soft skills. This is supported by the survey respondents’ description of newsrooms where reporting is mostly in-person but still requires some remote interviewing, meetings and communication for which graduates must be prepared.
The technology the Cal Poly journalism department adopted in 2020 allowed students to jointly produce and broadcast live on-air newscasts together in a virtual studio space from any physical location where the students had internet service and a laptop.
Morgan summed up the feeling of the participants: “We now have technology that lets us do live remote broadcasting. It’s very cool, and I hate the fact that it took a pandemic for us to start doing that.” They added, “but now that the technology is there, use it. You might as well run with it. … This generation, and all the students that will come after us, will be tech natives, so let the kids run with it.”
Participants agreed that while the in-person broadcast experience is preferred, there is value in keeping a remote option for future-proofing.
Sawyer noted, “Technology-wise, I do think being able to just have remote broadcasting in your back pocket is a great advantage.”
This echoes Turnbull’s (2021) advice that educators can prepare for the future by blending the effective parts of in-person learning with online tools and technology so that they are ready for disruptions (Turnbull, Chugh and Luck 2021, 6401–19). Using a blended approach to student media would help journalism programs keep pace with industry while preparing for disruptions; both serve to better prepare students. Integrating remote work into student media not only prepares the organization for an uncertain future, but it also prepares graduates for an uncertain future, as well as the transformed workplace. Blake, who was working mostly remotely for a broadcast organization, explained that remote broadcast learning taught them to be “good at being in a digital workspace, like in the working world.” This is supported by Hoak’s (2023) finding that “comfort and familiarity with tech” helped journalists learn new technologies on the job and adapt to remote work conditions (16).
Doing remote work in student media helps students become familiar and comfortable with the technology required to perform it, and importantly, acquire soft skills, for using the technology well. Being part of student media during the pandemic imparted a sense of confidence and resilience to the participants. They reported acquiring soft skills such as adaptability, problem solving, flexibility and the ability to think on their feet. They graduated feeling accomplished and recognized that they had acquired such soft skills as organization and better communication, that they had become self-learners and had gained confidence and proficiency at tackling new technology.
Journalism graduates who begin jobs in newsrooms will need to be proficient in the use of remote technologies such as web conferencing and remote broadcast software, working and interacting with colleagues on platforms that organize remote work, and be self-directed and able to work productively from remote locations without supervision. Strategies that were incorporated during the pandemic for remote broadcast reporting and technologies that facilitate remote collaboration in shared digital spaces should not be abandoned but rather woven into student media.
While prioritizing in-person work, advisers should integrate remote work that requires the skills graduates will need in the workplace. Learning the technology necessary for remote broadcasting during the pandemic alleviated feelings of intimidation related to new technology and imparted valuable soft skills.
To help students acquire self-teaching strategies for learning new workplace technology, advisers should give students opportunities to practice remote interviewing and reporting and become comfortable with and effective at remote meetings and communication. In addition to becoming accustomed to technology that supports remote broadcast reporting, such as Zoom or CleanFeed interviews, advisers should also incorporate technologies that facilitate distance work, such as collaborative authoring tools like Google products, news writing programs like ENPS and Rundown Creator, communication applications such as GroupMe and Slack, and collaborative workflow platforms like Trello and Basecamp. Using these applications can help students acquire effective communication and collaboration skills, while improving self-direction, self-organization, and self-supervision. Thus, graduates will be better prepared for a transformed workplace in which some remote work is the new normal. “By regularly using digital technologies, students are already building skills that are likely to be useful in the jobs they have after graduating” (Barber et al. 2021, 12).
This study is limited because it only examined the Cal Poly journalism department’s radio lab. While it provides insight, examples, and recommendations that can help improve learn-by-doing in student media, because of the methodology employed, and the purposeful sample, it may not be generalizable to other programs. While not generalizable, this case study provides thick, rich detail of the student media experience that allows readers then to transfer useful findings to their own program (Atkins and Wallace 2012; Flyvbjerg 2006).
Despite this limitation, the results provide a valuable understanding of how strategies developed and technologies used in response to the pandemic may be retained to improve student broadcast media and can be useful and transferable to other student media organizations. A deeper understanding, from a student perspective, of what worked well and why during the pandemic, informed by what employers value in recent graduates, can shape the future practices of this and other student media organizations. More study is needed as student media advisers move farther away from the pandemic. In the future, exploration is needed to examine the long-term role remote technologies will play in news work.
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Patti Piburn (M.S. SDSU, 2013, B.A. ASU, 1995, B.S. ASU 1995) is an assistant professor at California Polytechnic State University. She started her career as a journalist in 1995, and as an educator in 2006. Patti started out doing traffic reports in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona right after graduating from Arizona State University. She went on to anchor and report in New Mexico, Idaho Falls, and then California. Patti is the adviser for Cal Poly’s radio station, KCPR 91.3 FM. She is completing a doctoral degree from ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Kim Lisagor Bisheff (M.A. UC Berkeley, 1999; B.A. UCLA, 1995) is an assistant professor of media innovation at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Previously, she worked as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times and Outside magazine and as a freelance journalist and author (W.W. Norton & Co., Penguin Random House). Kim chaired the journalism program at Cuesta College from 2012 to 2016. At Cal Poly, she is the digital media adviser for Mustang News and teaches public affairs reporting, media entrepreneurship and advanced digital media.