By Moses Small, EIJ19 RTDNA Student Newsroom
San Antonio– RTDNA kicked off EIJ19 with new senior leadership. Terence Shepherd and Andrea Stahlman received assurance of their roles of chair and chair-elect respectively on Thursday morning, effective Saturday.
Shepherd, a Kentucky native, leads the news department of WLRN in the greater Miami area. The station has won 25 regional and three national Murrow Awards in the past three years.
Shepherd plans to leverage his professional experience– seven years of radio experience and two decades spent in print– to serve RTDNA.
“We [RTDNA] promote excellence,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd also emphasized the importance of news in today’s political climate.
“Our democracy is at stake,” Shepherd said. “There are people who want to diminish journalists, people who want to dismiss what we do.”
However, he remained hopeful about the future of media.
“We [RTDNA] defend people who are in trouble,” Shepherd said. “We try to give journalists tips on how to stay safe.”
Shepherd will be joined by Stahlman, the unopposed chair-elect candidate.
A gentle wave of approval hummed through the room as Stahlman took the stage to give her speech as the incoming chair-elect of RTDNA.
“I stayed in this industry for the people,” Stahlman said. “I’m looking forward to helping lead this organization.”
Stahlman has a long history of excellence in television news. She holds multiple awards from the Associated Press, the Regional Murrow Awards and the Regional Emmy Awards. She boasts 26 years of experience with WLKY-TV in Louisville, Kentucky where she oversees the news department.
Stahlman plans to use her platform to promote transparency and credibility in journalism.
“We’re always talking about it,” Stahlman said. “The journalists I work with are not biased, and they’re not doing fake news.”
Her experience in a competitive, mid-sized market drew her attention towards the hostility many journalists face in the national discourse.
“We’re always fighting for the first amendment,” Stahlman said. “We’re always going to be speaking up.”
In an age where the public fears fake news, she believes storytellers are fighting an uphill battle to secure public trust. Stahlman adopted a measured tone while explaining that professional storytellers are under pressure in this new era.
“Always being passionate about telling all sides of a story,” Stahlman said. “It’s pretty simple, but unfortunately it is under fire.”