By Ta’Leah Van Sistine
Throughout my journalistic experiences, I have immersed myself in solely print-based opportunities. It was only recently that I began to ponder the possibility of pursuing a career in radio. In contemplating whether I should seek job opportunities in print or radio, I was able to shadow Elizabeth Dohms from Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR). Through her, I learned that although her career is at a radio station, it transcends a specific journalistic category.
As the digital content producer for WPR’s Eau Claire bureau, Dohms said she generally writes one to two stories each day, creating digital content out of posted audio segments. She begins her mornings by calling Mary Kate McCoy, who is the digital content producer for WPR’s Madison bureau and they convene over the stories aired on the Morning Show, the Larry Meiller Show and Central Time. Then they attend a meeting with the Central Time hosts and producers to hear their insight on story ideas, ultimately decide on their stories and then pitch them to their editors.
Once her story ideas are approved, Dohms said she downloads the audio that was aired, uploads it into Trint, a transcribing software, highlights quotations and information she wants to feature and writes the story from there. She said creating the digital content may also mean she has to seek out more sources, triangulate the piece further and add pictures, links or videos to the piece.
After graduating from UW-Eau Claire in 2011, Dohms initially worked as the education reporter for the Chippewa Herald and then reported on education, breaking news, political, enterprise and feature beats for the Leader-Telegram. Regarding her transition from print journalism to radio broadcasting, Dohms said she believes the Digital Content Producer opportunity “was a logical next step” in her career. She said she appreciates how she is able to cover statewide stories now, where as a reporter, stories were focused within a smaller region. Overall, though, Dohms said she values the conversational aspect of radio shows, but also “print[‘s] … ability to dive deep.”
As a former Blugold, Dohms said she enjoyed the experiences within the journalism program, as in 2010, she was a part of a group of students who traveled to Moldova and “brought journalism to a community that didn’t have local reporters,” and she also was a part of Blugold Radio and the Society of Professional Journalists. She said her “inherently curious personality” has always driven her through her journalistic endeavors and suggests that this ambition to ask questions should inspire aspiring journalists as well.
I find interest in Dohms’ career because, although it takes place at a radio station, the art of contacting sources, triangulating stories and writing a piece are still present in this occupation. I realize interviewing and writing are not restrained to solely print-based jobs and that the curiosity to tell stories also unites all journalism careers.
Below, Dohms provides advice on how to best pursue a similar career to the one she has.