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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Shauna Sanford
Moderator of Louisiana Public Square and Co-Anchor of Louisiana: The State We're In

Television news has fascinated Shauna Sanford for as long as she can remember. "As a kid, I would often watch TV newsbreaks and then afterwards pretend to do my own reports," she recalls. Little did she know that one day she would have an opportunity to cover two of the nation’s biggest news stories, Hurricane Katrina and Rita. “It’s an experience I will never forget,” says Shauna. “I was working at WWL TV in New Orleans at the time and not only did I have to live through what was happening but report on it as well. It was an humbling experience.”

After leaving the business for a short time to work with the Recovery School District, Shauna was happy to return to television news as the co-anchor of Louisiana: The State We’re In for Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

She grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana and graduated from Howard University, in Washington, D.C, with a B.S. in Zoology. Shauna landed her first broadcasting job back in 1993 at WIBR-AM, an all-sports radio station in Baton Rouge. “Without any experience in television it was difficult for me to get my foot in the door,” she says. So when an on-air traffic reporter position serving several local radio stations opened up, Shauna jumped at the opportunity.

The young reporter continued to hone her skills, working for several stations including KQXL-FM and WJBO-AM. "I hosted two talk shows, became an anchor, even held a news director position," Shauna recounts. Her enthusiasm for the talk radio format earned her a "Victims and Citizens Against Crime" award, which honored her contributions in addressing topics of victims and families' rights. Shauna's versatile talents would also give her an edge in her next job.

The call that would bring a new dimension to Shauna's career came directly from the News Director of Baton Rouge CBS affiliate WAFB.-TV. The television medium would prove to be a perfect fit for the eager reporter, as many of her new assignments focused on Louisiana's colorful politics.

"I followed the Jim Brown trial, and the second round in court for former Governor Edwin Edwards," she describes. But it was Shauna's contribution to the coverage of suspected serial killer Derrick Todd Lee that would be recognized with an Associated Press Best Team Coverage Award. "Our individual strengths helped us cover the unfolding events," she notes, "and it was great being a part of that team." However, field reporting wasn't Shauna's only strength, as she also produced the station's noon news edition. "It's nice being on both sides of the camera; it gives you an appreciation for what it takes to put a newscast together,” emphasizes Shauna.

An unexpected phone call from the news director at WWL-TV led Shauna to her next assignment, as a reporter and weekend anchor in New Orleans. “I learned so much from everyone at Channel 4,” says Shauna. “It was a great place to further develop my broadcasting and writing skills.”

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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