The number and type of positions involved in producing a daily newscast will vary from two or three people in a very small station to more than 100 in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, or Tokyo.
Although responsibilities and titles can vary among stations, generally the news producer is the person who is directly in charge of the newscast.
In this digital, file server era, the role of the news producer has hanged. Today's news producer typically puts together the list of segments for each newscast based on the stories available.
The Director will then check the segments and make sure they are ready for air and then call for them as the news is broadcast. The person who responds to the director and operates the switcher during the broadcast is the TD or Technical Director.
Larger stations have segment producers in charge of specific stories or newscast segments. Some stations will have an executive producer who is over the producer(s).
As the title suggests, the ENG coordinator starts with the story assignments made by the assignment editor and works with reporters, ENG crews, editors, technicians, and the producer to see that the stories make it to "air."
ENG coordinators must also understand news, which brings
Ultimately, the job of the journalist — especially the investigative journalist — is to uncover the truth about situations and explain that to an audience in a clear and succinct way.
It's not the responsibility of the reporter to advocate a particular viewpoint but simply to bring all of the related facts to the public's attention and let those facts speak for themselves.
Once a news source is suspected of having "an agenda," credibility is lost and all of their reporting becomes suspect.
The Press As a Watchdog
In mid-2002 two major stories were reported in the U.S. press: the molestation of hundreds of children by clergy and the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history.
In both cases the incriminating facts had been successfully hidden from the public as the situations continued to get progressively worse.
Had the truth been uncovered and publicized earlier something could have been done to head off the pain and suffering that a great many people had to endure.
This includes the many additional children who were molested and the scores of people who lost all of their retirement funds while corporations reaped billions in profits.
In both cases it was the journalist's job to uncover the facts that were being successfully hidden from exposure and bring these facts to the public's attention; in other words, to fulfill their role as "the watchdogs of a democratic society."
Broadcast news today is a highly competitive business. Being first with the news can equal a boost in ratings and, of course, ratings translate into profits.
A reporter that can "scoop" competitors by being
first with a story can gain personal and professional prestige, and
At the same time, reporters are facing increasing efforts to legally hamper their efforts to uncover political and corporate wrongdoing.
The reason is not a mystery.
The individuals who are frequently the target of political scandals are the ones with the power to shape and interpret laws that can hinder these investigations.
The major contributors to political campaigns, which politicians depend on to stay in office, are the corporations that are frequently the targets of investigations.
News organizations, themselves, are not immune to pressures -- pressures end up having a strong influence over media companies, and thus their employees .
More than one reporter has been pressured to "back off" from an investigation when the outcome could affect political power or corporate profit.
Many examples are never brought to light. But one alleged
and seemingly clear and striking example is covered in
Video Journalists (VJs)
Today, we commonly see "one-man bands" covering television news; i.e., one person doing everything: camera operator, reporter, sound person, and editor.
In case you are wondering what the term "one-man band" refers to, it originally referred to a person who played multiple musical instruments at the same time. (Note photo.)
A modern broadcast related interpretation is when an on-camera reporter shoots the basic story, then sets up a camera on a tripod, focuses on a mark on the ground, tilts the camera up to his or her height and locks it, puts on a mic and checks the audio, rolls the recorder, and then standing on the mark delivers the opening and closing to the piece.
And then that same person may edit the piece and do the voice-over narration,
As television news moves to IP (Internet protocol) as a point-to-point medium this "all-in-one" individual may send the story from the field directly to the studio or "cloud," (remote depository), to be used as needed. All that's required is an Internet connection -- and, of course, a person who is very good at multitasking.
This has led to the term, video journalist (VJ), a single field reporter who does it all.
It's not easy, but it saves hiring extra people. Thus,
it's more important than ever to understand the entire production and
Feeling the rush to get a story, it's sometimes tempting to assume facts or use information from questionable sources.
However, errors in stories not only damage a station's credibility but they can derail a reporter's professional future. Here are five points to keep in mind when writing news stories.
One of the reasons that news is mistrusted and influential
people are reluctant to give interview is because facts have been reported
wrong or distorted.
In doing a TV documentary the writer had his own experience with this. (See Murder and A Police Cover-up.)
This recently has been taken a step further when some municipalities have enacted laws to make it make it illegal to film public police actions.
In some cases cell phone cameras have been confiscated and contents erased and copied -- including phone contacts and personal photos.
Although the legality of this has been challenged by
the ACLU, because of the Patriot Act these actions remain murky legal
The Freedom of Information Act (FOA)
To help address this issue The Freedom of Information Act (FOA) was originally passed to allow citizens and reporters access to government documents.
However, not only is the process of obtaining documents through FOA fraught with red tape and delays, but key information is routinely blacked out (redacted). In 2008 two-thirds of FOA requests were simply refused. No explanation or justification is required.
One recent request resulted in a 57 page reply but with more than 98 percent of it blacked out, leaving not much more than the title page.
Although the law stipulates that the government must reply to a FOA request within a set period of time, in practice the law is often ignored. In fact, it can be years before a reply is received.
Since the FOA law has no "teeth" in it, there is little that can be done.
Despite these problems, some major stories have resulted from FOA documents.
Among journalists murder is the
At Times, A Dangerous Profession
Since 1992, 1,179 journalists have been killed around the world.
Although you might assume that most were killed while covering wars, you will note from the list below that most were murdered because they were covering political stories.
In addition to those killed, many more were imprisoned
or threatened with prison.
Those who feel that covering wars from the battlefield is a man's job need to consider the story of Lara Logan.
She is considered one of today's most successful foreign correspondents, having won numerous prestigious awards.
The file, Are You Paranoid Yet?, covers two of the most recent attempts to stop U.S. Investigative reporters from doing their jobs -- not in some dangerous foreign country without the rule of law, but in the United States.
After computers and telephones of major news centers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox News and the Associated Press were hacked, reportedly by a branch of the U.S. government to find out who their sources were, journalists have suggested somewhat drastic procedures designed to protect themselves and thwart hacking attempts.
Suffice it to say, investigating and breaking important stories often carries a degree of professional and personal risk. At the same time, this is the way awards are won and professional careers are advanced — and, far more importantly, wrongs are rectified and needed social change is instituted.
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