New journalism professor makes local news matter

m_boudreau_headshot__final_Courtesy of Delaware Public Media
New journalism professor, Micheline Boudreau, brings Delaware news to the forefront.

BY
MANAGING MOSAIC EDITOR

Rounding the corner into the newsroom of Boston’s public radio station, WBUR, Micheline Boudreau found herself in a frenzied crew of reporters finishing up interviews, making phone calls and preparing to publish their articles.

“I just remember feeling like this is where I’m supposed to be,” says Boudreau, the university’s newest addition to the journalism department.

At that time, Boudreau had recently finished up her undergraduate degree in history and classics and her master’s degree in Greek and Latin classics. Hoping to continue her education and begin her doctorate in archaeology, she found herself looking for any job to keep her afloat. That’s when she came across WBUR.

“Journalism was not a direct path for me,” Boudreau says with a laugh. “I wish it were.”

Despite balancing WBUR with two other jobs, Boudreau says she made herself available as much as possible to prove that she was serious about building up her career in the newsroom.

She eventually began learning the ins and outs of becoming an audio engineer at the station.

“Learning to be a woman engineer was kind of a novelty but it was also really interesting and it was a good skill to have,” she says. She continued working in audio until she was hired to be a producer and eventually a reporter.

Boudreau’s journalism career quickly escalated following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. NPR had been on air constantly and needed WBUR to take over. With little time to prepare, Boudreau, along with three other individuals, took air at 7 p.m. and reported live for five straight hours.

When the live production ended, NPR immediately asked if they would do the same thing again in the succeeding days. The coverage was soon condensed down to two hours and established as a permanent nightly show, “On Point.”

“It was amazing that just from showing up and being available for absolutely anything [I was able to] to create a national program for NPR that’s still on now,” Boudreau says.

Boudreau later moved to Delaware and became the news director for TV/Radio at WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station. The station covers Delaware news, however, because it is stationed in Philadelphia, Delaware is not its primary focus.

“I felt passionate about Delaware but I was at an organization where it was a secondary interest,” Boudreau says.

She says that having children was the driving factor in changing her focus and starting up her own broadcasting company, now known as Delaware Public Media.

“I want them to grow up feeling like their state is the number one, most important place,” she says.

In 2012, Delaware Public Media launched their radio station, WDDE. At that time, Delaware was the only state lacking an NPR program.

As the WDDE staff was trying to set up their online streaming program, Boudreau was at home eating breakfast in the kitchen with her newborn baby and two-and-a-half-year-old son. At the top of the hour, a story about Wilmington aired and her son began to giggle. Boudreau asked what was so funny about the story they had just listened to, and her son responded, “because that’s where we live.”

“He didn’t know the story but he knew it was about where he lives,” Boudreau says. “Local matters. It does matter. Because it was so hard and so much work [to start the company], to have him say that was the most special moment.”

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