Customer Conversation – Abe Hefter, University of Hartford

Burli has always had a very special place in its heart for journalism educators. We maintain very good relationships with journalism and technical colleges across North America, because we believe in helping grow the next generation of journalists.

Take, for instance, long time professional broadcaster, Burli user, and educator Abe Hefter, of the University of Hartford, Connecticut. His new role is to help young people learn to become passionate about providing the news in a radio newsroom environment that allows them to do the job.

We sat down with Hefter and talked about his experience with Burli, and what he hopes to bring to the table for the next generation of newsrooms.

Broadcasting Across Canada

Abe Hefter, University of Hartford

Abe Hefter is an Applied Assistant Professor with the School of Communications at the University of Hartford. He’s been aboard there since early 2017, following a 30 year career in news radio across Canada and a 15 year career in higher education.

Coming from Montreal, and working in Vancouver and many points in between, Hefter’s covered some ground. He’s served in some of the country’s biggest news rooms, including CKNW and NEWS 1130 in Vancouver, the Canadian Press in Toronto, and TSN 690 and CJAD in Montreal. He’s been a show host, anchor, reporter, and sportscaster, and has had a lot of fun doing it.

His prior teaching experience goes back to 2003 with Concordia University’s Continuing Education department. He joined Concordia’s Journalism department in 2013, and that prior experience helped him design the new course when he went to Hartford, one he simply calls “The Newsroom”.

The Newsroom

His goal is to provide an environment for the students to work as close to a real radio shift as possible. They rotate roles from day to day in a non-broadcasting setup, each acting as an editor, newscaster, sportscaster, entertainment reporter, business reporter, and general news reporter. He wants the students (as he puts it) to “come to work”. And his experience working with Burli, which he calls “the industry standard”, is now shared with his students.

“There’s no better feeling than to be able to share everything that I’m able to share as a result of what I’ve done for many years with the students at University of Hartford”, says Hefter. ”A big part of what I’ve done in radio broadcasting, including reporting back to CJAD Montreal from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, was done using Burli”.

He’s particularly happy with the changes that have come about to turn journalism away from the analog world and into the digital. In his sportscasting days, Hefter spent some time covering four different Olympic games, and he recalls with a laugh unscrewing the mouthpiece on the hotel phones to hook in his Sony tape deck using alligator clips and have his newsroom record his audio, right over the phone lines, from another country. But the switch to digital audio is just the beginning, he says.

Teaching the New Way

He draws upon his broadcasting days to teach the students at the University of Hartford how to build their newscast – working with the audio editor, creating new text to accompany the story, and pulling info from various wires. His appreciation for the current state of industry tools is evident.

The scenic University of Hartford campus

“It’s seamless”, says Hefter of Burli Newsroom. “It provides me with everything I need… all the tools I need to get the job done, and all the tools my students need to get the job done”. And he is busily passing his skills to the next generation of radio news professionals, no matter which end of the industry they hope to work in.

“Leaving the class, when all is said and done, with a really good understanding of how a professional newsroom radio environment works… Burli is a part of that. Burli is a big part of that!”

We’d like to thank Abe Hefter and the University of Hartford for their time and participation in this story.