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New WRKF series highlights Manship School student work

03/12/2014 11:12 AM

BATON ROUGE – A class of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication students has partnered with WRKF, Baton Rouge’s NPR member station, to capture stories of the personal experiences that have shaped ideas about education. WRKF will broadcast the series, “First Bell,” starting March 17 as 3- to 4-minute segments during broadcasts of “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” on 89.3FM.  They will also publish the segments at

Each segment in the series focuses on the experiences of a teacher, student or parent, told in their own words.

In his story, Louisiana’s State Superintendent of Education John White describes how the elite all-boys school he attended in Washington, D.C. formed his vision of the ideal educational environment.

“We had lunch together every day – the whole school (St. Albans) had lunch together,” said White. “We sat at tables just like it was family style. … As a teacher (in Jersey City, NJ)… sometimes we’d have 80 kids packed into my little room, just hanging out and doing lunch and tutoring and writing and having a good time.”

The class, held during LSU’s winter break, was overseen by Manship School Associate Professor Craig Freeman and WRKF’s News Director Amy Jeffries.  

“The class helps develop storytelling skills for students across concentrations,” Freeman said.

David Gordon, WRKF’s president and general manager, is pleased the station is joining in this partnership, a first for the station.

“This project is a win-win,” Gordon said. “Students build their skills; WRKF gains a young perspective, and young listeners.”

Each of the seven students in the course produced a segment for the “First Bell” series.  

Manship student Alix Landriault captured the story of Chris Vasser. Now a senior at LSU, his study habits were transformed when he transferred to Catholic High School in Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina forced his family out of New Orleans.

“I didn’t make many friends that year and wound up spending my lunch hour in the back of the library reading,” Vasser told Landriault. “I found my motivation to read through my experiences that year.”

WRKF is continuing to collect stories for the “First Bell” series, and News Director Amy Jeffries is working with Manship School students again during the spring semester to gather them. The station will be reaching out for more contributions on the air, in the community and through social media.

89.3 WRKF-FM, a nonprofit NPR member station, airs state, national and international programming that informs and entertains more than 50,000 listeners each week in the Greater Baton Rouge Area and beyond.

For more information on this series, please contact Amy Jeffries, at 225-926-3050, ext. 26, or

For more information on the Manship School, please contact Emily Wascom at 225-578-7312 or

LSU Media Relations