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The Carole Kneeland Project Celebrates 25 Years

- Leadership Program Honors News Legend

This week TAB’s offices in Austin will once again host a gathering of television news directors from around the country taking part in one of two annual conferences of the Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible Journalism.

These conferences immerse Kneeland Fellows in a rigorous, three-day seminar in news ethics, newsroom culture, decision-making, management and leadership to assure excellence in local television journalism.

This training has become the core focus of The Kneeland Project which continues to evolve to address the dynamic and changing media landscape, while retaining the values, ethics, and fundamentals taught by Carole Kneeland, TAB’s 1997 Broadcaster of the Year.

Kneeland revolutionized the way stories were told and how newsrooms were led. 

The lessons she taught are timeless - be fair, accurate, ethical, and balanced. 

Kneeland died in January of 1998 after an eight-year battle with cancer.  

At the time, she was Vice-President of News at Austin’s KVUE-TV and garnered a national reputation for newsroom excellence through a lengthy career first as reporter and then as news director.

Her family, friends, and colleagues believed in what she stood for and vowed to carry on her legacy through the work of The Kneeland Project.

The late Ann Arnold, TAB’s president until her passing in 2012, and Michael Schneider, TAB’s V.P. for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, were both part of the Kneeland’s creation in 1998.

Schneider continues to serve on the Kneeland board of directors.

In its remarkable 25-year history, the 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization serving television journalism has survived and thrived thanks to grants from broadcast corporations, journalism-related foundations, and donations from individuals including many from past Kneeland Fellows.

Tax-deductible contributions to The Kneeland Project can be made here.

More than 700 television journalists representing more than 140 television markets in all 50 states, primarily current news directors, have become Kneeland Fellows.

Almost a hundred of them have been Texas television news directors either working in the state or who took jobs here after becoming a Kneeland Fellow.

Their presence and desire to “raise the bar” for local television journalism is felt in media markets around the country, large and small.

One of those early Texas Fellows is the Kneeland Project’s new executive director.

Shannon Hammel attended Kneeland while working at KXAS-TV Dallas-Ft. Worth in 2000.

While there, Hammel launched an investigative team that won multiple National Edward R. Murrow awards and a National Emmy.

She has years of TV management and research experience in other states including Michigan, Ohio, and Colorado. 

“The Kneeland Project training changed how I managed teams and how I led in the newsroom. To this day, I share lessons from Kneeland in my personal and professional life,” said Hammel. 

“I’m thrilled to be able to give back to an organization that truly changed my life.”

Hammel will manage day-to-day operations, including organizing conferences and fundraising efforts to ensure a bright future for the non-profit. 

Stacy Baum, who served as Kneeland’s executive director for nearly 20 years, resigned last October to focus full-time as vice president of Marketing & Community Engagement at Catholic Charities of Denver.

A former KVUE newsroom employee during Carole Kneeland’s tenure, Baum’s hard work and dedication ensured the long-term health and success of the organization, and her contributions have been invaluable.

The Kneeland Project is providing real-world, hands-on leadership training to the people on the front lines of local news. 

It has changed lives and continues to improve the quality of local newsgathering, one journalist at a time. 

Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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