How do they get news?

This is the second post in a series of blogs about what media training trainees think when they come to a session. We talk here about how media get the news they print and broadcast.

In our media training sessions, we help trainees unravel some of the mysteries of media including how journalists find their news in the first place. Few have thought about the process at all.

Much of the news in our newspapers, magazines, broadcast news and social media comes from reporters – the women and men spread throughout the country and the world who are always on the hunt for interesting stories to tell. Some of these are ‘beat reporters’ who specialize in subject areas such as Police, Courts, Finance, Sports, Lifestyle and so on. Some are General Assignment reporters who will cover anything that moves.

News flows into media outlets in the form of news or press releases.  We prefer ‘news’ because ‘press’, after all, means print media and is an outdated term. Even ‘news’ is debatable given that a lot of the stuff in today’s news releases from governments, companies and others is nothing but claptrap.  Some releases are valid and actually do survive the trip through picky editors and producers to get into the paper or on TV…

Wire copy is less known to the public at large. This is another old-fashioned term since the wires are now wireless to newsrooma great extent and the ‘copy’ is digital delivered on devices instead of a clacking machine in the corner of the newsroom. When any news is published, it can be picked up by services like Canadian Press, Reuters, Bloomberg and many other. These redistributors of news and information (they also provide original coverage) spread the news from its source to thousands of other outlets across the world.

News is also provided to media from the public – any one from the person at the desk next to you at work to the community activist to the kid with the cellphone can contact media with his or her tales. Much and probably most of this input is unusable, false or plain boring but some is pure gold such as voice and video sends from Aleppo or leaks from the Trump H.Q.

Media in total is a net catching a great many of the stories that make up everyday life throughout the world and throughout your neighborhood. The goal for companies and other organizations is to learn how to generate and respond to news so it is your story being told and not that of the person next door or of that inquiring reporter.


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