WVTF Public Radio and RADIO IQ has opened a New River Valley news bureau, enhancing the commitment to in-depth coverage of issues important to Virginia residents.

Veteran journalist Robbie Harris has been hired as New River Valley bureau chief. Harris is the former news director of WBEZ Chicago Public Radio and WHYY Public Radio in Philadelphia where she led award-winning news teams and creative projects.  

She has also worked in public and commercial television, as well as print journalism.  In 2004, she co-founded Lucid Dream Productions where she worked as writer, editor, producer, and communications consultant.

Harris has won numerous Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists awards. Her work has also been the recipient of a Peabody Award and she won a Public Radio News Directors Incorporated award for best documentary for a six-hour radio re-creation of Dec. 7, 1941, called “A Pearl Harbor Remembrance”.

As for her move to the New River Valley from Chicago, Harris says she was attracted by the region’s beauty and the many interesting people with stories to be told.

“The station's mission and goals, its approach to covering the region and its commitment to excellence are also what attract me here; specifically, its creation of a new bureau based in Blacksburg, which brings the station and listeners closer. Local coverage is vital to a region, not only to the people who live here, but also for people in other parts of the state and beyond. The new bureau is an opportunity to focus on, and highlight the New River Valley and the surrounding area. I feel extremely fortunate to be part of that effort,” said Harris.

Harris graduated with a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

WVTF Public Radio and RADIO IQ's General Manager Glenn Gleixner says the station is excited to be adding another top public radio journalist to the staff. “Public radio journalism is more important today than ever before.  As other media outlets decrease the size and scope of their newsrooms, public radio has taken on the responsibility of filling the void left by these shrinking commitments.  This is especially true for local, regional, and state reporting. Harris, an award winning and highly respected reporter, will add an important layer of information and knowledge for the station’s large and growing constituency,” said Gleixner.

WVTF has a weekly audience of approximately 160,000 listeners and the signal covers more than 50 percent of Virginia’s land mass. The Blacksburg bureau chief will be the fifth full time news person, in addition to 10 part-time and stringer reporters. The WVTF Public Radio and RADIO IQ news department also manages Virginia Public Radio, a collaboration of public radio stations in the state, which produces daily news reports, weekly features, and state-wide public affairs call-in programs.

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