Understanding How a Newsroom Works
- Bad news sells: Scandals and controversies are hard to compete with and make it to the front pages, so go for the inside pages or top stories.
- Easy stories make headlines: Squabbles or attack-defend structure of stories are the usual favorites. Full stories are usually not featured.
- Race vs. time: There is usually an afternoon rush to beat the deadlines for the evening news and printing of the newspaper. If a choice of stories has to be made, the short and sweet stories are the likely choice.
- Biases: Sometimes, media organizations have certain biases and do not come out with a story, especially if it is against people or
organizations they consider as "sacred cows” and they want to play it safe.
Structure for a Broad Sheet
- Assignments/City Editor
- Section editor
- Reader’s Advocate
- Reporter or Correspondent
TV Newsroom’s Set-up
- Assignments Editor
- Executive Producer
- Field Reporter
- Hands-on Anchor
*If there’s no visual, there is no story.
Working with the Media Toolbox
The mass media is a major channel for communicating to the general public, and is influential in swaying public opinion and the thinking of leaders and decision makers. In order to build partnerships with media organizations, it is necessary to understand how they work.
The Five Fs Principles in Journalism:
- Factual: Truth and accuracy
- Fairness: Balanced reporting
- Fast: Current and up to date information
- Frank: Attention to problems and the negative ("watchdog-ism”)
- Friendly: Interesting to the audience -stories with conflict, drama, human interest, the unusual, the novel idea, the bizarre, failures and successes.
Tips in Working with the Media:
- Learn the media habits of the audiences in the country or community: What is the media penetration? What is the radio station most listened to? What is the most read newspaper?
- Study the characteristics of the media organisation: What is the structure of the media organisation? Who makes the decision in the media organisation? Who is the most influential in deciding what makes it to the headlines or news? What is the position of the editor, and reporter on issues? Which media organisation has credibility?
- Cultivate a relationship with the media and establish channels of regular communication: It is important to have good reporters as contacts. Provide them with regular updates, data and relevant information about what you want to break into the news. Treat journalists and other media professionals with respect, thanking and rewarding quality media professionals with awards and other motivators.