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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Behind-the-Scenes of TV News

Although it may no longer be this week, I am excited to meet the staff of KABC's newsroom and ask them questions about their process of creating a professional newscast.

I’ve toured ABC7 once before, but it was from the sales perspective, which was really fascinating but also very different from the news perspective. Consequently, I feel like I can learn a lot from this trip.

The very first thing I want to know is what sources they get their news from. Here at ATVN, we are only allowed to use the wires in iNews and of course original reporting – and for good reason as we learned earlier this week. I am sure that KABC has a very similar policy, and I’d like to know what it is. Even more so, however, I’m just curious what wire service they use.

Secondly, I want to know what distinguishes a good newscast from a great newscast in their opinion. Is it the original reporting? The live shots? The writing? Is there something that really stands out to them that makes one newscast really stand out from another?

I also am interested in how ratings affect what they include in their newscast. At ATVN we’re lucky because we don’t have to worry about ratings, but they are a very big deal for stations like KABC. I know that ratings can sometimes determine whether you get to keep your job. Therefore, I am curious if KABC’s staff will put in some stories simply to get ratings points, and how they balance out the stories they want to tell with stories that get ratings. I also want to know what stories they have done that have gotten the most rating points.

Furthermore, I’m not quite sure if KABC's staff would know this, but I want to know if ABC’s ratings improved since Yahoo now uses their network’s video content on their website. I know that Yahoo streamed ABC’s network coverage live during the Boston Marathon explosions, and the website got a lot of traffic. I would be interested to hear KABC’s take on that, and how KABC plans to continue to merge their online content with their broadcast.

I would also like to know more about how the news management team, reporters, and producers got to where they are now. Where did they start out? Did they have a mentor that helped guide them? Why did they want to go into news?

Lastly, I want to know what other opportunities there are to work in a local television station. I know television stations typically have the news staff, sales, station management, and marketing departments, but does ABC7 also do non-news local programming? Or do they just use content from their parent company Disney? 

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