Travis Richards-‘Legends of Local News 8’ Podcast-News and Journalism

Travis Richards

Project Title: ‘Legends of Local News 8 Podcast’

Emphasis: News and Journalism

Project Summary: Legends of Local News 8 is a series of podcast episodes that highlights prominent multimedia journalists in Eastern Idaho.  They share their experiences about how the industry has changed over the last 30 years with the evolution of technology.  

‘Legends of Local News 8’ Project Outcomes

Main takeaways:

-Releasing newsworthy content showcasing storytelling skills

-Learning more about the career I am interested in

-Attempting a journalistic avenue that I’ve never used before

-Promoting my work with friends and family

As a news and journalism emphasis, I wanted to pursue a project that would stretch my skills and give me a better picture of what I am getting into as I leave BYU-Idaho. As a producer and aspiring reporter, I wanted to showcase something I could share with prospective employers who work in the news industry. So, I decided to start up my series of podcast episodes that would allow me to interview people already in the industry. I entitled the Podcast ‘Legends of Local News 8.’

My desired outcome was to release newsworthy content which showcases strong storytelling skills on a platform that allows me to use my voice to share a story. My outcome was to tell a story of prominent journalists who have worked for Local News 8 or currently work for Local News 8.

KIFI Local News 8 is an ABC Affiliate located in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The TV station serves the entire Eastern Idaho and Western Wyoming area, which includes big cities in Idaho such as Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Rigby, Blackfoot, Salmon, and Jackson, Wyoming. I wanted to hear their experiences of an evolving industry, and what they think the future of journalism will look like.

My outcome was to share about the career I am interested in through their perspective.

The most important way that I met that outcome was interviewing each of these journalists and asking them to tell me what the industry was like in the 70s and 80s, before the internet, and streaming. I asked them thought-provoking questions that allowed them to tell a story of what the industry was like when they were in school, and when they were starting.

I interviewed people who have worked for Local News 8 for longer than I have been alive. Many people in the industry are slightly older than me, with not much life experience, but I wanted the perspectives of people who had to learn about the digital age, and how to live in it.

Another way I met my desired outcome was by attempting something I never have done before. It was sharing a story with my voice. I would write scripts for my podcast episodes using a writing format for radio and television, and then I would rehearse that script before recording myself at the radio station.

Throughout much of my education, I was uncomfortable listening to myself, so I wanted to tell a story using my voice as much as possible. I will be doing that for a living, so learning how I sound will allow me to know how I can fluctuate my voice better. Throughout my time in the news industry, I will be sharing reels with future employers, and that will be a small fraction of how I can present myself. So, learning how to become better at speaking like a reporter is a way I met my outcome.

I also met this outcome by promoting my work. Something I’ve been trying to do is tell friends about what I am working on and be confident with my craft even if they aren’t the most interested in it as a consumer. It’s been hard for me to be confident about my work, and be proud of it, so I’ve been working on presenting my work and being confident enough about my work so when I share my work with a future employer they are impressed.

Working on this podcast has allowed me to stretch myself and use better storytelling skills on a platform I wasn’t familiar with. My outcome was to share a captivating story of the industry I am going into through the lens of those who already work in it while discovering ways to get out of my comfort zone to share that story. It gives me a clearer picture of what to expect for the rest of my life and how to overcome challenges I might face going forward.  

Podcast Analytics Collected

Apple Podcasts:

Total Plays – 83

Plays Per Episode – 21

Engaged Listeners – 10


Total Plays – 76

Plays per Episode – 17

Audience Size – 16

Increasing Engagement and Readership

Main takeaways:

-Share with friends and family

-Focus on a specific target audience

-Feel confident in my work

The data collected for my podcast taught me an important skill to be proud of my work and to tell my friends and family about my journalism material, especially in a podcast format. In the past, I wasn’t as excited to share something I was producing. I would only feel comfortable sharing my writing.

I still need to find ways to expand my reach and talk to people directly about my podcast and be confident in sharing my work with others. A way to increase engagement on my podcast page is to have a target audience and target a specific demographic. Finding ways to grow my social media pages is something I can focus on.

Something I am trying to figure out is increasing engagement for Legends of Local News 8, since this topic may not be the most engaging content for some people who aren’t watching the news. Maybe producing another podcast more aligned with what others may enjoy would be a better avenue to increase engagement.

What I Learned about Journalism and Related Skills

Main takeaways:

-Discovering my voice in a different way

-Writing and editing scripts

-Mastering interviewing techniques

When I first decided I wanted to go into journalism, it was because of my passion for writing. I loved writing and expressing my voice through writing. I felt like I could be heard through how I write, and that people would notice me through my writing. As I have studied journalism these last few years, I’ve noticed that I can use my voice through other avenues such as speaking, interviewing others, visual graphics, capturing pictures and videos, and through podcasting. Something I’ve learned about journalism is how important it is to write. Without learning more about the skill of writing, I don’t think I would’ve gotten this far in my college career. I believe writing is the foundational skill in Journalism that allows each journalist to begin building other skills.

For this project, I wanted to develop a different skill I hadn’t developed up until this point. I wanted to share a captivating story using a platform that allowed me to use my voice in other ways such as recording my voice. I wanted to produce and release my series of podcast episodes. Through different classes I’ve taken, I developed different skills, but I hadn’t taken very many classes that helped me become more confident speaking in front of a microphone and listening to my voice repeatedly through editing. Part of building that confidence was then telling people about my project and encouraging them to listen to my podcast episodes.

Another important journalistic skill that I learned throughout this project is writing a script and editing that script to enhance storytelling elements. I also worked on editing audio tracks again in adobe audition. In radio and tv broadcasting, video and audio editing is essential to producing quality work, and so is editing radio and tv scripts. Working on this project helped me look for things in editing that might be overlooked if I’m not careful. I believe that editing is a crucial skill to develop because with competition to release content quickly for breaking news, it is important to vet and have other people look at stories. 

I also learned about different interviewing techniques while working on this project. My interviewing has gotten better while I attended BYU-Idaho, but it still needs some work. In the past, I would interview students or faculty members, but for this project, I interviewed experts and journalists who have been in the industry for more than 10-30 years. I had to research what I wanted to ask them and understand what I was talking about in my interviews, or I could easily be corrected. Conducting professional interviews for this project was an important skill I needed to develop. Good journalists know how to ask difficult or thought-provoking questions. 

If this project has taught me anything about journalism, it would be one of these three things. Exploring and learning more about different journalistic platforms such as podcasting has helped me develop skills, I didn’t think I even had. Discovering ways to use my voice by speaking has been the best skill I could develop during this semester. It taught me that I could be a tv or radio journalist if I continue to work on that skill. Sharing this podcast, even though I may be a little nervous to share my work differently has allowed me to share my work throughout the rest of my career, whether it’s on social media, tv, radio, or websites. Sharing my hand-written articles or speaking about something happening in a community will help me become a better multimedia journalist.

Completing Professional Projects

Main takeaways:

-Managing time

-Keeping myself accountable

-Producing high quality work

-Not procrastinating

As I attended BYU-Idaho, I completed some projects but never had to do a project that spanned several weeks. The biggest professional lesson I learned about completing big projects is keeping myself accountable. In the professional world, especially in the news world, no one will remind me what I need to do. I will be expected to show up every day with story ideas.

Others expect me to show up and do my job to the best of my ability. Something I learned about completing this project is that I needed to be the one who had to manage my time by prioritizing this project. I didn’t have class regularly, and I didn’t have homework assignments due weekly.

I kept myself accountable regularly by meeting with my mentor Brother Brandon Isle and telling him about how the project was progressing. Another important lesson I learned is that I needed to produce quality work during this project. Doing a project of this magnitude meant I needed to exceed expectations.

I learned a lesson about completing high-quality work. Being professional also means showing up to work on something, even when it could be easy to stay at home. Meeting professional standards means keeping yourself accountable to do things a little bit at a time over a long period.

Early in the semester, I told myself that spending 2-3 hours every day on something related to my project would be better than procrastinating and spending 10 hours a day on my project later in the semester.

Procrastinating might be a joke in society, but it does not meet professional standards and will not impress employers.

Podcast Editorial Calendar-

Episode 1-Jay Hildebrandt

Release Date: 5-30-23

This episode of Legends of Local News 8 highlights longtime anchor and reporter Jay Hildebrandt. Jay talks about the beginning days of his career, technological advancements throughout his time in news, and some big stories he covered during his time with Local News 8. He has been in the industry for a long time, so he has seen a lot of changes in the industry.

Episode 2-Karole Honas

Release Date: 6-05-23

Karole Honas was Jay Hildebrant’s co-anchor at KIFI Local News 8 for almost 30 years. She has decades of experience in the industry. She shares with me her hopes for the future in journalism, and how the industry has evolved since the 70s. Karole believes that “bad news can wait, and good news will always find you.”

Episode 3- Todd Kunz

Release Date: 6-12-23

Todd Kunz is an award winning TV anchor and Multimedia Journalist with over 30 years of experience. Todd is the current anchor for KIFI Local News 8, and KIDK Eyewitness News 3. Todd thinks radio broadcasting is more special than tv broadcasting.

Episode 4-Curtis Jackson and Joel Killam

Release Date: 06-16-23

This episode focuses on the producing side of news. It describes the importance of producing in a newsroom. Curtis and Joel are two producers that have enough experience to talk about the evolution of journalism and technology in the industry. This episode also talks about what a producer does to help anchors and reporters with their jobs.