About Judith

Smelser Headshot 2015

Welcome to my blog about journalism, public media, news management, and media ethics.

After working in public media newsrooms for many years, I started my own business, Smelser Editing & Consulting, in 2013. I consult for news organizations on strategic planning, content and staffing, editorial plans, newsroom organization systems, and even staff morale. I also provide training and coaching in editing and news management, and I offer hands-on independent story editing.

My current and past clients include WUNC Chapel Hill, KERA Dallas, KPBS San Diego, WCPN/ideastream Cleveland, WESA Pittsburgh, the Texas Station Collaborative, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Indiana Public Broadcasting, Colorado Public Radio, and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. (PRNDI).

Before striking out on my own, I was Managing Editor at Colorado Public Radio, where I led day-to-day operations of CPR’s 17-person newsroom, editing news features and series, overseeing the newscast unit, and guiding ongoing and breaking coverage. I planned and produced CPR’s first-ever live Election Night coverage in 2012. I led CPR’s reporting on the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, in close coordination with NPR’s team on the ground. I also led CPR’s participation in the NPR/WBUR Here & Now Contributors Network.

Before CPR, I served as news director at WMFE in Orlando, Florida. I planned, edited, and reported on award-winning coverage of daily stories and major events, including hurricanes, elections, and the end of NASA’s space shuttle program.  I helped create a new local talk show and helped re-shape the station’s long-running arts show.  I instituted numerous newsroom management systems, from writing WMFE’s first formal journalism ethics code, to creating emergency coverage plans, to installing a rigorous start-to-finish editing process.

Prior to that, I was based in Washington D.C., as an editor, producer, and reporter at the broadcast news agency Feature Story News.

I believe in the importance of journalism and public media in our society. I hope my posts spark friendly discussion about the many issues facing our field.


One thought on “About Judith

  1. Xena says:

    Ohmigosh, thank you for writing this. As a non-traditional candidate, I spent years as a grownup intern, worked for free, freelanced, volunteered at my public radio station, went back to school to sharpen my skills, made tons of contacts, and eventually even got paid work in radio. But still, I can’t seem to land a gig at a public radio station; I have been the runner-up candidate so many times… You hit the nail on the head. I don’t quite fit the mold. So thank you (thank you!!) for reminding folks to keep an open mind.

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