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The Kneeland Project celebrates 20 years in 2018, application window now open

The Kneeland Project, an innovative newsroom leadership initiative which TAB has supported for two decades, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2018.

When the longtime news director of Austin’s KVUE-TV, Carole Kneeland, passed away from cancer on Jan. 26, 1998, her husband and friends, including TAB’s late president Ann Arnold and myself, got together to honor one of her last wishes – to create a newsroom leadership training effort.  Carole’s expertise in journalism and in managing an award-winning, innovative newsroom was nationally-recognized. So was her championing of newsrooms’ cause at the Texas Legislature and in the courtroom.

She started her broadcast career as a reporter for Houston’s KAUM-FM in the early 1970’s and after a few years joined Houston’s KPRC-TV, working for TAB’s 1998 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year, News Director Ray Miller. Carole spent almost all of the 1980s as WFAA-TV’s Capitol bureau chief before taking over the helm of the KVUE newsroom.  TAB honored her career efforts with its 1997 Broadcaster of the Year award.

It was Carole’s belief that newsroom managers often received little or no training to help them succeed in the high pressure environment of running a television newsroom. She hoped we could pass along best practices for managing newsrooms based upon her and others’ experience, and so The Kneeland Project was born in February of 1998.

It began with a single, multi-day leadership forum in the fall of 1998 and has since grown to two training sessions a year as well as an online training component.  In the ensuing 20 years, TAB has helped The Kneeland Project in many ways by providing meeting space, administrative help, fundraising assistance and leadership on the Kneeland board of directors. TAB also notifies Texas television news directors when each application window opens in hopes that many will take advantage of this unique program.  Eighteen fellows from around the country are chosen for each forum from a national pool of applicants.  The Kneeland Project brings in a rotating faculty of trainers to provide insight and tools for leading television newsrooms in today’s broadcast, online and mobile landscape.

In these forums, new and veteran television news directors learn systems and approaches that address fostering a culture of enterprise reporting, developing staff coaching skills, managing multi-generational newsrooms, adapting to new technologies, achieving work/life balance and a host of other topics.  Many Kneeland attendees say the experience is life-altering, and often, the most significant professional development they have ever received.

The Kneeland Project has trained more than 500 television news directors from around the country in the past 19 years, and of those, more than 60 were working in Texas when they attended or have since moved here.  As we close 2017, there are more than 20 Kneeland Fellows working as television news directors in Texas, from markets as large as Houston and Dallas to some of the smallest markets in the state.

Application Process Opening
The Kneeland Project is now seeking applications for its next leadership session for TV news directors, which will be held Feb. 28 - March 3, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.   Applications are due on January 8, so apply now.

Thanks to generous individual and corporate broadcast funders, Kneeland forums are nearly free for the 18 selected applicants. The Kneeland Project pays all tuition costs, as well as accommodations. Participants cover only transportation and several meals. 

The 2018 forums feature an innovative new agenda.  The Kneeland Project has engaged high-level faculty and will focus the sessions on the changing nature of the broadcast news business. This isn't theoretical information that leaders put on a shelf and neglect. Participants will leave with concrete action items to implement immediately that make a difference at their stations...and in their lives.  The Kneeland Project’s fall conference will take place Sept. 5-8 at the TAB office in Austin.  The fall conference application window will open in the early summer.

TAB is proud to have been part of this effort and to have helped many Texas news directors through our involvement. It has furthered careers and benefitted Texas and the nation in many ways.  If you are looking for a worthy end-of-year charitable donation that benefits the broadcast industry, you can contribute to The Kneeland Project, a 501c3 organization

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

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