Everyday, managers in the newsroom have to decide what reporters are going to cover. They also have to track developing stories.
Get inside the news-making process as News10's executive producer walks you through her day.
Too many stories, too few reporters a.k.a. How we decide
We have a lot going on today-- a home invasion robbery, which sent two people to the hospital (you'll hear exactly how it all went down tonight, in a News10 exclusive,) prescribed burns throughout the valley and a handful of other stories we'd love to follow up on.
Here's the problem- we have one reporter today. That means the producers have to get creative about ways to gather and present news and I have to prioritize the stories so our reporter is on the ones that really need some time and attention.
So how do we decide which stories get more play than others? You've come to the right place for answers.
Here's a list of the questions we ask before we assign stories:
1) We think of our audience. Where did the story happen and how many people does it affect? Local stories affecting a wide audience get top priority.
2) Which stories are the most interesting or bring up the most questions which need to be answered?
3) Do we have enough resources to properly cover the story? **This one is key-- there are plenty of stories we want to cover, but can't because of staffing. Don't worry, though- we don't throw story ideas out, we just save them for a time when more staff is available. For example, we typically can't send a reporter two hours away if they're the only ones working that day. If we did, we wouldn't be able to cover any local breaking news.
Of course, all of this is subjective. You may not always agree with the decisions we make, however we're hoping you can understand why we make them. Always remember: if you're not sure why we have/have not covered a story, just ask. We're happy to fill you in!
Getting to know you a.k.a. Go Team!
There are moments in my career I'll never forget. I was in a newsroom when the twin towers fell and in the control booth when Mt. St. Helens rumbled back to life. I've met presidents and celebrities and traveled across the country for interviews. Those moments will stay with me forever, however they are not the reason I enjoy my job.
I love my job because of you- telling your stories, seeing your reactions, giving you perspective on the issues impacting your family. There's no better feeling than speaking to viewers in the community and hearing how the stories we've aired have had an effect on their lives. We work hard in the newsroom to dig deeper and ask more questions than the other stations. When our hard work pays off, we know we've lived up to the expectations of you, ourselves and the journalists we look up to.
I'm not exaggerating when I say my job is with me 24 hours per day, seven days a week. News happens at all hours, on all days. Nothing is sacred- I've worked on holidays and birthdays and directed news coverage from a hospital bed. It's exhausting and exhilarating.
Most of that work is deciding what stories to put on air and the best ways to gather and present the information. On a day without breaking news, that process starts about 7:00 a.m. when reporters start texting and calling with questions and story ideas. A few hours later, we all meet in the newsroom for our "morning meeting." That's when we discuss ideas, talk about information our sources have given us and decide what we have the resources to cover.
Once the reporters are assigned a story, they start making calls and setting up interviews. They typically leave the newsroom before 11:00 a.m. and don't return for several hours. In the meantime, I tell the producers which stories we are putting in which shows. They start putting the shows together, going through the Associated Press wire for other stories and writing the scripts for the anchors.
Deciding what to present to you takes a lot of time and effort. We get a lot of questions on our News10 Facebook page asking why we cover certain stories, but not others. This blog is where you'll find the answers. Each newsroom has its own news philosophy. I'll be using this space to explain our philosophy, answer your questions and give you an inside look at the steps it takes to create a newscast. I'll also let you in on some of the fun we have here at KTVL News10-- giving you a look at the side of your favorite reporters and anchors you don't see.
It's my hope that revealing the process to you will help you develop the same love for the news that I hold. At the very least, you can share in the excitement of a deadline driven newsroom.
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