Confessions of a TV News Producer (part one)
Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)
Admit it. You’ve watched a news story
on a business or seen someone
offering advice as an expert and
thought to yourself,
“how did she get to be featured on TV?
That should be me!”
Calm down, tiger. It can be you.
You just need to know what kinds of stories make the media pant with anticipation and deliver them.
And I’ve got the scoop for you.
Through the magic of social media, I hooked up with a media expert and then convinced her to spill her secrets on what the media loves in a news story.
First, a little about our news insider, Roshanda.
Roshanda Pratt is President and Lead Consultant at R.E.P. Communications Network, LLC. R.E.P. is a media relations and consulting firm based in the Southeast, consisting of a team of professionals who creatively partner with businesses to build their REPutation in media, marketing, branding, professional development and training.
Here’s why you should tune in…
Roshanda spent 10 years as a television news producer in a top 20 market in the fast-paced world of 24-hour news channels. This girl’s got the lowdown on what it takes to grab the media’s attention and get your message on the air.
In this post, I’m going to share Roshanda’s tips on getting media coverage.
Q: We’re all familiar with the anchors who sit in the studio, announcing news stories to the camera. Then there are the reporters in the field, reporting on stories. Tell us about your role – what does a producer do?
A: In the TV news world, the producer helps gather the news and writes the news stories that the anchors read on air. It’s an intense job – the producer spends eight hours a day to create a 30-minute newscast.
The assignment editor is the hub of the newsroom. He or she fields the incoming phone calls, evaluates story pitches, reviews press releases, listens to police scanners and communicates with personal sources.
Knowing the right person to contact about your story idea is the first step to being covered. Target the assignment editor, the producer and sometimes reporters.
Q. A daily show needs an endless supply of stories to feed the hungry news cycle. How did you come up with story ideas? What were your usual “go to” sources?
A: Every news station has a morning meeting to brainstorm and evaluate potential stories. Here are the most common sources:
- Press releases – yep, press releases. (Unless they’re too long. Two pages or more? Forget it. Your news has just become some editor’s scratch pad.)
- Newspapers – what stories are in the paper and how can they be adapted to television?
- Sources – pitches called into the news room, police scanners, insiders with juicy information.
- Competition – what are the other news stations covering? Can we improve on a story? Give it a different angle?
- National stories – what’s happening in the national news and how can we localize it?
Q. Here are Famous in Your Field, we want to share our life-changing ideas and information with the world. If a business professional thinks he or she has a great idea for a story, what should they do to get it on the news?
A. Think about the benefit. How would your story impact your community? First, remember that television is a mass media. Your story has to have broad, not narrow appeal.
Second, television is a visual medium. What’s the visual value of your story? Do you have a product that we can show on camera? A video? Great images? Can you do a demonstration? To attract the interest of an assignment editor or producer, think about how you can make your story visual.
And finally, if you can’t make your story visual, consider that television might not be where you belong. Perhaps your place is in print!
Your fame boosting assignment:
This week, develop one story idea or pitch. Give it the TV news test: does it have broad appeal? Can you make it visual?
Now, get ready for your close-up, superstar.
[…] while working as a TV News Producer for 10 years. I happily said yes and here is part one of Confessions of a TV News Producer. Would love to know what you think. Please post your […]
Hi Lori! What I get from this article is high energy and fast, fast, fast. Is that true? And I love the point about being visual. GREAT point 🙂 Thank you! Janet
Ooo, yes, Janet. High energy, fast and visual are all good guidelines for appealing news stories.
I think VISUAL is key for news….it helps so much. Can’t wait for Part II
Thanks for these enlightening tips….especially about getting your story noticed by TV stations, you must show the benefit and the human interest piece. Broad appeal will definitely get you noticed than something narrowly focused.
You’re so right, Lori. News is a broad audience, not narrow, so your topic or story has to appeal to many.
It all comes back to the benefits, whether it’s pitching a story or writing copy. Great interview. So succinct and on the money. Thank you for giving us the insider view.
[…] She crammed our conversation with the inside scoop on who does what in the newsroom, how stories make it onto news programs, and the must-have factors that make a story air-time worthy. (Get it here if you missed it.) […]
[…] This article is a great example of a behind the scenes look at a news producer: Confessions of a TV News Producer. […]
[…] comes straight from former TV news producer, Roshanda Pratt.) If you, your products or your business were featured on television or radio, send a delicious […]
[…] Being the first one to take on the duties of the producer for the show has helped me in a lot of ways, and I am actually very thankful that I got to be first. I remember the first day I was so unsure about everything. I wasn’t used to being the one that calls the shots. However, I got a lot of help from my professor and classmates which made a big difference. Luckily it didn’t take me long to understand the basics of the software we use, called iNews. Using it the first time was scary, but after playing with it a little bit I was actually starting to understand it more and more. There is still so much I have yet to learn about it though, and I by no means have turned in to an expert already, but I felt like after each day it got at least a little bit easier. Things are starting to make a lot more sense and I can’t wait to be at the point where I can comfortably say that I absolutely know what I’m doing – if that is even possible. I was trying to find what an expert in this field says about what it means to be a good producer and I could definitely relate to a few of the things mentioned in this interview. […]