As founder of Smelser Editing & Consulting, Judith Smelser has provided journalism consulting, training, and story editing to more than 30 public media stations and collaborations around the country since 2013. She has trained and coached more than 200 public media editors and news managers through her workshops, including PRNDI’s News Manager Training and Certification, which she co-created and led for six years. Judith co-authored the Big Footprint Playbook, which grew out of a CPB-funded project on high-impact journalism, and writes about issues in journalism and public media on her blog Scribbles & Scruples.
Before launching Smelser E&C, Judith was Managing Editor at Colorado Public Radio, where she led day-to-day operations of CPR's 17-person newsroom, editing news features and series, overseeing the newscast unit, and guiding ongoing and breaking coverage. She planned and produced CPR's first-ever live Election Night coverage in 2012; led CPR's reporting on the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, in close coordination with NPR's team on the ground; and led CPR's participation in the innovative NPR/WBUR Here & Now Contributors Network.
Prior to that, Judith served as news director at WMFE in Orlando, Florida, where she planned, edited, and reported on award-winning coverage of daily stories and major events, including hurricanes, elections, and the end of NASA's space shuttle program. She instituted numerous newsroom management systems -- from writing WMFE's first formal journalism ethics code, to creating crisis coverage plans, to installing a rigorous start-to-finish editing process. She also helped create a new local talk show, including hiring the program's first host, and helped re-shape the station's long-running arts program.
Judith got her start in journalism as an editor, producer, and reporter at Feature Story News in Washington, DC. She's now based in Orlando, Florida, where she also writes a local wine blog, hosts the podcast UnWineding, and serves as cuddler-in-chief for her senior cat.
Judith took a real interest in helping us achieve our goals, as if it was her own newsroom.
Marco Cardamone, Former Interim GM, WESA Pittsburgh
The training was a breakthrough in learning how to lead with confidence and compassion.
Jenna Dooley, News Director, WNIJ
Commenting on PRNDI News Manager Training
[Judith] always offers useful suggestions on how to make two-ways more engaging, newscasts and spots more relevant. She's an excellent teacher and a patient coach.
David Pitman, Host/Announcer, Houston Public Media