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

What Would KABC Do?

Television news is one of those fields where there's never one right answer - and dozens of solutions to every problem.

I'm looking forward to visiting the KABC station and asking the producers, reporters, photographers and assignment editors there how they handled some of the stories that ATVN has also covered recently.

There is clearly an imbalance of resources when you compare KABC and ATVN side by side, but some decisions that I've had to make in our newsroom - such as how to balance different sides of a story, what kinds of experts to reach out to and what qualifies as legitimate confirmation when it comes to breaking news updates - are issues professional journalists face every day.

The following are a few of the questions I plan to ask at KABC:

  • What are creative ways to localize national stories? For example, viewers nationwide care about stories like the Boston Marathon bombing, but how can local news stations produce content that gives their audience something special? In addition to our coverage of what was happening in Boston, ATVN interviewed USC runners who were at the Boston Marathon, covered "Run For Boston" events in Los Angeles and produced two "local security" packages. How else could an LA-based station add something extra to this story that's relevant to LA-based viewers?
  • When do local news stories belong higher up in a rundown than national stories? CalState LA evacuated their campus following two "bomb threats" - the same afternoon the FBI released photos of the Boston Marathon suspects. ATVN wound up leading with the CSULA story. Would KABC have done the same thing if they only aired one 30-minute newscast at 6 p.m.?
  • ATVN reached out to toxicology experts after the explosion in West, Texas to discuss long-term affects relating to air pollution, chemical exposure and respiratory problems. What are other types of experts we could have contacted to explore unique angles of this story?
  • Both mayoral candidates - Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti - held campaign events on Thursday, but we only managed to get Greuel on camera. How would KABC have balanced this coverage? Air a phone interview with Garcetti and cover it with a photo? Request a statement from his office and explain our station reached out to him for comment? Air an on-camera interview with a Garcetti supporter who attended the event, but no statement or sound from Garcetti himself?
  • How much communication and cooperation is there between the broadcast and digital teams at a professional station like KABC? How is that maintained throughout the day?
  • ATVN often includes Tweets and Facebook posts from people in lieu of soundbites and official statements. How do different producers and reporters at KABC feel about this? Provided they come from official, confirmed social media accounts, is this legitimate "news" - and interesting material for viewers that they haven't already seen elsewhere?
  • The ATVN rundown usually isn't finalized until an hour or so before our show airs. When does the KABC news team usually finalize which stories to include - with the exception of last-minute breaking news - and how to organize them in their newscast?
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.