Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Breaking News is a Tough Business

Tuesday night’s newscast on Channel 9 at 9:00pm featured live coverage of protesters running through the streets of Los Angeles. The production team at the station was required to make some difficult decisions in figuring out what to show and what not to show on live television. 

Let’s start with what went wrong and then move on to what the producers did well. First, I felt as though the producers did not make the best decisions with the talent that they had at their hands. Brittany Hopper was live on the bridge over the 101 Freeway and seemed unprepared and nervous. Meanwhile, Stu Mundel was live in the chopper and seemed to have more information than Hopper had on the ground.

The next thing that the producers could have done better was to give Hopper a better idea of what had already been reported. Hopper was reporting facts that had already been established almost 10 minutes before on the newscast. To try to get more information out of Hopper, the producers used the anchors in the studio. It felt as if the anchors were almost quizzing Hopper and it was sad to watch because Hopper just did not have the answers to the questions. At one point, the anchors asked her to verify information that the studio received from a police report and there was no way that Hopper could do so, given the situation that she was in.

Now, let’s talk about what the producers did well. The producers started off the show in a very coherent manner. They lead with what was happening and had happened in Ferguson that day, and then transitioned to what protesters were doing in Los Angeles. I like to call this idea, bringing it home.

The other good decision that the producers made was to not go to a commercial break until roughly 42 minutes into the show. Viewers want to see all of the action without interruptions and the producers gave the viewers what they wanted.

Overall, I feel as though the producers handled a difficult show in a coherent and effective manner. Breaking news is a tough business and they dealt with it to the best of their abilities.

Leave a comment

We've Moved!

By Sam Bergum
01/21/16 | 11:09 a.m. PST

Visit us at!

USC Basketball Knocks Off Rival UCLA 89- 75

By Scott Cook
01/14/16 | 12:05 a.m. PST

USC defeats UCLA with stellar play from their Freshmen. 

Holiday Bowl - USC vs Wisconsin Post-Game Press Conference

Su'a Cravens: "It's the players that need to step up"

Darreus Rogers: "It comes down to the players"

Trojans Fall to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl 23-21

We detected that you might be on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sorry, at this time the video box is only visible on desktop computers.