Job Description: News Director

Note: As news managers grow in organizational leadership, they may be granted new titles such as “Vice President of News.” See that sample job description here, courtesy of Vermont Public Radio.

A news managers duties are often described with some apportionment of time per duty. The apportionment will vary per employer — with small stations often expecting more time reporting and anchoring and less time for other management. The following example assumes a medium size staff in which the ND is also the primary editor for the staff:

Function

The News Director (ND) leads and manages the planning, production and presentation of news. The ND supervises the news department staff. The ND reports to (the general manager / program director ) and works in cooperation with station leadership and staff to support the station mission.

The ND has responsibility and understanding of news planning, reporting, editing and production. The ND helps define and maintain ethical, editorial, artistic and technical standards for broadcast news programs. The ND assists with news programming decisions and news operations. The ND, as the station’s top news authority, is responsible for the journalistic integrity of all station activities and platforms.

Duties

Editorial Planning, Scheduling, Editing (40%)

The ND directs the activities of the news staff to develop story ideas, track issues and events, select reporters for coverage, schedule stories for publication, and schedule time for interviewing, writing and editing.

The ND serves as a primary editor to insure news reports are produced in an effective, timely and responsible manner.

The ND acts as a proactive liaison to various internal and external constituencies to advance the station’s news programming. These may include the station programming and operations and development staffs. These may also include other appropriate organizations such as NPR, APM, PRI, etc.

Reporting, Anchoring (20%)

The ND is part of the news team and contributes content on a regular basis. The ND may need to anchor newscasts, host talk programs, appear as a program guest, and produce various spots, features, special programs, web content, etc.

Administration of Personnel, Budget, Technology (30%)

The ND helps set goals and monitor performance of news personnel. Personnel management includes recruitment and hiring. The ND manages the news department budget — including annual planning, monthly monitoring and routine handling. The ND helps maintain equipment and information systems vital to news planning, newsgathering, news production and news presentation.

Community Relations and Support (10%)

The ND seeks opportunities to promote public contact to help ascertain public needs, build community engagement and bolster station success. The ND participates in station events and fundraising activities as appropriate.

Other

The ND adheres to deadlines and makes timely and effective decisions in situations requiring prompt attention. The ND is the primary leader during crisis response.

Qualifications

A four-year degree in journalism — or equivalent — required. Minimum three years full-time professional experience in journalism — preferably in a multi-platform news environment. Familiarity with public media news programming standards and values. Successful candidate will possess broad knowledge of local and regional issues. Must have ability to work within a live program environment. Must have experience in broadcast production, web content, news writing and news editing. Must possess effective communication and interpersonal skills. Preferred skills include on-line research, multimedia production, word and spreadsheet processing and operation of light office equipment. Must have excellent memory for details, be able to meet daily deadlines under potentially stressful conditions and deal effectively with multiple competing tasks.

Job Description: Reporter

This is a generic job description for a public media news reporter:

Function

The News Reporter works under the supervision of the News Director. The Reporter specializes in covering a news beat and producing high value journalistic content for publication on radio and digital platforms, including daily news reports, in-depth feature reports and special reports as assigned. The Reporter may be asked to anchor newscasts, host programs, help edit others, appear as a program guest, and help during station fundraising activities.

Duties

Reporting/Anchoring: 85%

Selects and researches topics; contacts and interviews sources; maintains notes, recordings and files; manages social media presence for news gathering, news distribution and branding purposes; writes and edits reports; produces reports for on-air and/or digital platforms. Produces news as assigned by News Director. Reports stories in appropriate formats for distribution platforms. May be asked to anchor newscasts or host programs. Occasionally serves regional and national networks.

Planning: 10%

Maintains a beat specialty. Reads and follows major developments in specialty. Follows pertinent persons or publications and attends related events. Maintains contact lists, social media accounts and other data for on-going continuity of coverage and accumulation of knowledge. Proactively participates in the creative cycle of story and program origination with reporters, supervisor, producers and web staff.

Administration and Other: 5%

The Reporter attends meetings and is responsible for appropriate record keeping, correspondence, phone calls, supplies and equipment and other duties as assigned. Also will be called upon to participate in station membership campaigns and community-building events.

Other

The Reporter adheres to deadlines and, in concert with appropriate staff, makes timely and effective decisions in situations requiring prompt attention. The Reporter works in close concert with other staff and under the supervision of the News Director, assisting in identifying, developing and creating programs that support overall mission.

Qualifications

A four-year degree or equivalent required. Minimum one year full-time professional, experience in journalism. Must have expertise in news-gathering, writing, editing and radio and web production for short-form and long-form reports. Ideally would have familiarity with public media news, data journalism, still and video photography. Possesses broad knowledge of local and regional issues — and/or depth of knowledge in beat specialty. Demonstrates ability to work within a live publishing environment. Displays knowledge and adherence to high ethical standards. Possesses effective communication and interpersonal skills. Skills required also include on-line research, word processing, digital editing, and operation of light office equipment. Additional preferred qualities include a track record of network story contributions, web experience and Spanish skills. Must have excellent memory for details, be able to meet daily deadlines under pressure and deal effectively with simultaneous tasks.

Defining Public Radio News Excellence

What do we mean by quality local news?

  1. Exploit the Aesthetic Imperatives of Your Medium. The message received by listeners is influenced by the inherent nature of the audio medium. Radio is intimate, immediate and imaginative. Similarly, visual media and mobile media have unique strengths. Use these imperatives in the service of excellent story telling.
  2. Embrace the Craft. Place tremendous importance on excellent writing, delivery, use of sound, etc. Offer the listener a rich and unique experience.
  3. Give Journalistic Quality, Receive Trust. The public has many choices and is growing skeptical of superficial news sources, hyped promotion and inaccuracy. Even small mistakes can damage credibility or ruin the media experience. Consistent, professional, authentic presentation breeds familiarity and confidence in our work. Public trust in our service is a priority. Trust must not be compromised or taken for granted.
  4. Discerning listeners Want Only the Best. Offer listeners the best there is to offer – the best talent, the best thinkers, the best observers. Offer beauty and intelligence. Whatever the story or program, seek to serve the listener’s highest aspirations.
  5. Create Context and Connections. Provide handles on issues that citizens can grasp. Provide forums where active minds can hear themselves reflect. Explain the background, the history, the philosophy, the underpinnings of issues and people in the news. Show linkages and connections that help make sense of a fragmented world. Be on hand to spotlight discovery and progress and triumph – as much as we spotlight tragedy or failure.

By striving every day to make every story, every newscast, and every program an example of dedication to our mission and principles, we make ourselves a more valuable institution for the good of our community.

Reporter Hire Scoring Criteria

XXXX (BEAT) REPORTER — Search Committee Selection Criteria

Score each candidate per category accordingly: 1=unqualified, 2=below standards, 3=meets standards, 4=above standards, 5=exceeds standards (or as advised below)

  1. Education – BA meets standards. MA is above standards. PhD exceeds standards. Exceptional experience or amassing considerable non-degree education can serve as equivalent. Also consider grading above standards if the education is particularly well-suited to the beat, such as a BA in (Beat). Below standard may be reason to disqualify.
  2. Journalism Experience – Two years of journalism experience meets standards. Award above standards if cumulative experience is four years. To exceed standards, candidate would have six years or more of journalism experience. Below standard may disqualify.
  3. Radio/Public Radio – Grade the candidate’s apparent familiarity with broadcast news. Emphasize NPR-style news and high ethical standards. To meet standards would require some on-the-job radio experience. To be above standards would require public-radio experience (or considerable large market commercial radio experience). To exceed standards, candidate would have considerable large market or network public-radio experience. Below standard in this category would not disqualify candidate.
  4. web/Tech/TV/Other – Award one bonus point for any significant web experience, one for displaying significant familiarity with digital audio/radio technology, one for bringing relevant television experience, and add points for any other notable attribute(s) that would enhance a candidate’s service to XXXX .
  5. Local Knowledge/Beat Knowledge – Grade the candidate’s apparent knowledge of (Beat), (our state) and (our community). To meet standards, candidate would have demonstrated knowledge of (Beat) topics, or would have demonstrated knowledge of (our state) topics. To rate above standards, candidate would add to that further knowledge (of (our state) or (Beat) or (our community)). To exceed standards, candidates would demonstrate ample familiarity with all three subject areas. Below standard does not disqualify candidate.
  6. Bilingual in Spanish/Ability to Connect with Underserved Communities – Award no points if the candidate offer NEITHER Spanish fluency or a cultural connection with underserved communities in (our community) (e.g., Hispanic/Latino). Award 3 points if candidate offers EITHER Spanish fluency or cultural connection. Award 5 points if candidates offer BOTH Spanish fluency and cultural connection.
  7. CD Demo. Listen to the demo and score from 0 to 5 based on these considerations:

A) The quality of the reporter’s voice (natural quality, enunciation, conversational delivery, appropriate inflection and confidence orauthority).

B) The production value of the recording (was it cued properly, miked properly, free of distracting noises, good use of ambient sound or actuality, well-mixed?)

C) The script writing (Does story grab your attention at the outset? Is there a consistent narrative style or structure? How are characters developed? Is the story focused? Is word choice precise and concise? Does the writing make the most of the sound? Is it creative?)

D) The reporting (Is this an important topic (or an interesting topic)? Does the reporting bring out reason to care? Do we have the salient facts? Does it show good research? Do we hear from the best possible sources? Is it balanced? Is there an appropriate level of depth?)

 

Landmark Audience Research

Public radio researcher David Giovannoni claimed the “research revolution” in public broadcasting began in the 1980s, mostly due to efforts by the Regan Administration to defund public media. While the defunding push didn’t get past congress, it did cause system leaders to realize they needed to turn their attention to what audience’s most wanted and what they were willing to help pay for. Giovannoni produced two landmark reports that have been influencing professional media managers ever since.

Audience 88

Audience 98

See also David Giovannoni’s website

 

Job Description: Anchor-Editor

This is a generic job description for an afternoon news anchor with script editing and some reporting responsibilities.

Function

The Anchor/Editor works under the supervision of the News Director. The Anchor/Editor specializes in delivering live radio newscasts, writing copy for radio, prioritizing stories for air, and covering breaking news. The Anchor/Editor may be asked to appear as a guest on programs or host programs or appear in public on behalf of XXXX .

Duties

Anchoring/Editing: 65%

Stays atop daily local and national news via multiple sources. Maintains an afternoon air-shift (3:00-6:30 pm M-F). Selects and rewrites stories for air. Edits all scripts for accuracy, timeliness and proper usage. Arranges newscasts, billboards and other on-air content. Presents content live on-air in an authoritative and conversational manner that connects with local listeners. Operates a board, computers, recording machines, and other equipment as necessary. May provide breaking news coverage during air shift. Has role in helping manage news publication on website. Helps edit spot and feature copy of reporters.

Reporting: 25%

Provides reporting or other newsroom services prior to air shift [9:30-3:00].

Proactively participates in the creative cycle of story and program origination with other reporters and supervisors.

Administration and Other: 10%

Has a role in helping determine reporting assignments. Helps maintain news script and audio archive. Attends staff meetings and is responsible for appropriate record keeping, correspondence, phone calls, supplies and equipment and other duties as assigned. May appear in public. And is expected to assist during on-air fundraisers.

Other

The Anchor/Editor adheres to deadlines and, in concert with appropriate staff, makes timely and effective decisions in situations requiring prompt attention. The Anchor/Editor works in close concert staff and under the supervision of the News Director, assisting in identifying, developing and creating content for broadcast.

Qualifications

A four-year degree or equivalent required.

Must have a minimum total of two years of on-air professional radio experience, preferably with one year in public radio. Must have one year of radio reporting experience – news gathering, writing, editing and production for short-form and long-form reports. Must have at least one year of live broadcast anchoring and/or hosting experience.

Must have strong expertise in voice delivery and writing for the ear. Will possess broad knowledge of local, regional, national and international political, legislative, economic, scientific, arts and cultural affairs. Demonstrated ability to work within a dynamic news environment. Knowledge of and adherence to high ethical standards. Must possess effective communication and interpersonal skills.

Skills required also include on-line research, word processing, digital audio editing, and operation of audio equipment and light office equipment. Must have excellent memory for details, be able to meet frequent absolute deadlines under stressful conditions, and deal effectively with multiple tasks simultaneously.

Job Description: Producer/Public Affairs

This is a generic job description for a talk show producer in a news/public affairs dept.

Function

The Producer, News and Public Affairs works under the supervision of the News Director to produce a daily talk and interview program; and other programs as assigned.

Duties

Research and Program Production: 55%

Works with Senior Producer and Host to research and develop topics and concepts. Writes focus sheets and questions. Works with host, technical director and call screener during live programs to select calls to be taken and provide information and questions to host. Serves as program researcher and fact checker as assigned and helps insure that programs are produced in an effective, timely, and fiscally responsible manner.

Guest Contact: 35%

Identifies, recruits and schedules program guests in conjunction with the Senior Producer and Host. Pre-interviews guests and arranges their availability and preparation.

Administration: 10%

The Producer is responsible for appropriate record keeping, correspondence, phone calls, meetings, maintaining supplies and equipment and other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree and one year related experience. Solid grounding in journalism. Must have strong verbal, interpersonal and written communication skills. Strong computer and research skills required. Prefer a minimum of one year’s experience in research, preferably in a broadcast or print news/interview setting. A broad knowledge of current local, regional, national and political, legislative, economic, cultural and scientific affairs is desired.

Job Description: Senior Editor

This is a generic job description for a senior editor in a medium to large newsroom.

Function

The Senior Editor works under the supervision of the News Director to help manage the day to day coverage of news. The Senior Editor has responsibility and understanding of news planning, reporting, editing and production, and supervises daily news assignments. The Senior Editor helps maintain ethical, editorial, artistic, and technical standards for radio news programs. Helps maintain news script and audio archives. Has role in helping manage news publication on website.

Duties

Planning, Scheduling, Editing: 60%

The Senior Editor works in association with the News Director to develop news story ideas, track issues and events, select reporters for coverage, schedule stories for air, and schedule time for interviewing, writing and editing.

The Senior Editor serves as a primary fact checker and script editor to insure news reports are produced in an effective, timely and responsible manner.

Reporting, Anchoring: 25%

The Senior Editor is part of the news team and contributes stories on a regular basis. The Senior Editor may be called upon to anchor newscasts, host talk programs, appear as a program guest, and produce various spots, features, special programs as assigned.

Substituting for News Director and Other Assorted Tasks: 15%

The Senior Editor performs the primary functions of the News Director during the director’s absence. These functions may include personnel management, budget management, editorial management, and other duties as assigned. The Senior Editor also maintains records, conducts correspondence and meetings, oversees upkeep of supplies and equipment, helps on station fundraising activities and other duties as assigned.

Other

The Senior Editor adheres to deadlines and, in concert with appropriate staff, makes timely and effective decisions in situations requiring prompt attention. The Senior Editor works in close concert with and under the supervision of the News Director, assisting in identifying, developing and creating programs for broadcast both locally nationally.

Qualifications

Minimum three years full-time professional, progressively responsible experience in radio news. Familiarity with public radio news programming a must. Previous public radio experience desired. Successful candidate will possess broad knowledge of local, regional, national and international political, legislative, economic, scientific, arts and cultural affairs. Demonstrated ability to work within a live program environment. Demonstrated experience in broadcast production, writing, and editing also necessary. Must possess effective communication and interpersonal skills. Skills required also include on-line research, word processing, and operation of light office equipment. Must have excellent memory for details, be able to meet daily deadlines, often under stressful conditions, and deal effectively with a multiplicity of tasks simultaneously. A four-year degree or equivalent required.

Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan for News and Public Affairs

Prepared by:

Year:

A. Overview/Introduction (summary of highlights, accomplishments, challenges, purpose of plan)

B. Vision/Mission/Principles

C. Priority One: Journalism Excellence

Goal 1 — “Add Greater Depth: Add full-time reporter” (reason, process, cost)

Goal 2 — “Add Greater Depth: Form beat system” (reason, process, cost)

Goal 3 — “Improve Morning Edition News: Apply for MEGS Workshop” (reason, process, cost)

D. Priority Two: Staff Excellence

Goal 4 — “Improve multi-media skills: begin training program” (reason, process, cost)

Goal 5 — “Improve spot & feature & web balance: examine planning & set new production goals” (reason, process, cost)

E. Priority Three: Production Excellence

Goal 6 — “Improve Field Sound & Work Speed: invest in digital recorders” (reason, process, cost)

Station Vision and News Department Mission

Station Vision

Station XXXX educates, informs, entertains and empowers its audience by acquiring, producing and delivering high quality programming worthy of support.

Guiding Principles

Station XXXX values community building, lifelong learning, and providing a service accessible to all. The XXXX staff is professional and responsive. They are committed to creating engaging and appealing programs and services in ways that reflect values of civility, respect, integrity and individual responsibility.

News & Public Affairs Department Mission

  • News & Public Affairs carries out the vision, mission and guiding principles of XXXX. We provide core news content, editorial leadership and ethical decision-making.
  • News & Public Affairs provides programming which complements the quality of its global, national and regional news services. We believe the public receives greatest benefit from well-blended global-to-local context.
  • News & Public Affairs is an independent news organization. We abide by the highest journalistic standards and principles.
  • News & Public Affairs believes an informed and engaged citizenry is essential for a strong democracy. We provide the public information that is relevant, important, timely and accurate. We provide opportunities for public discourse and interaction. We are fully accountable to the public.
  • News & Public Affairs is comprised of professional, well-trained, highly motivated team players with a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. We are trustworthy and loyal to the news mission.

Editor Questions for Reporters

Here are sample questions to ask reporters when first discussing a story idea.

To Get at the Focus of the Story

  • What is your story about?
  • Who is in it?
  • What will they be doing?
  • Why is this interesting?
  • Why is this important?

To Drive Toward Greater Substance

  • What makes this story necessary? Why now?
  • Where is the overt or underlying conflict?
  • How will you show that?
  • What led to this? Where is it headed?

To Assure Originality and Authenticity

  • Has anyone else done this story? How is this different?
  • Why do YOU care about this?
  • Who else do we need to hear from? Who would add the missing voice?
  • What don’t we know here? How can we find that?

To Meet Broader Objectives

  • How can we get out in front of this story (not play catch up)?
  • What can we bring to this story no one else can?
  • How are we bringing diverse perspectives to the story?
  • How does this fit with our community (or beat) coverage priorities?

To Stimulate Creative Thinking

  • What scares you here?
  • What delights us?
  • What would be fresh, exciting here? Where’s the surprise?
  • How is this satisfying? Challenging?
  • What can this be compared to?

To Anticipate Ethical Issues

  • Do you have a personal stake here?
  • What “blind spots” might we have on this? Who can help us?
  • Do you expect your sources to go on the record?
  • How controversial is this? Who are the stakeholders?

To Make Good Use of Time and Resources

  • What is a reasonable form/length for this story?
  • How much time do you need? When should it air?
  • What help might you need?

To Make Best Use of Our Medium

  • What makes this a strong RADIO story?
  • How can we maximize the aural experience for listeners?
  • What visual opportunities will we get (for the web)?

NPR Community

In October 2008, National Public Radio rolled out several new “community tools” on the NPR website.

The tools allow individual users to join the NPR Community. They can create profiles and hold discussions and do many other things that social networks allow.

Learn more on the NPR Community main page.

Activities in the NPR Community may be triggered by NPR stories, local stories, a discussion board post or an event listing. There are also blogs and chats and galleries (for user-generated photos and video).

Stations can find instructions for accessing their group, managing their group tools, assigning access to staff and other activities at the NPR Stations site. (Log in is required. See your manager for more info.)

WBUR Today

The WBUR newsroom in Boston was among the first public radio news stations to distribute a daily e-newsletter, WBUR Today, to thousands subscribers (who signed up at wbur.org).

See sign-up form at wbur.org.

WBUR Today is comprised of the top stories from the WBUR newsroom as well as as the best national and international stories from NPR and the BBC. It’s a daily digest of what aired on WBUR that morning — including weather and sports scores.

A morning news producer assembles the newsletter. The wbur.org news editor oversees the content.

WBUR uses Constant Contact software to distribute the newsletter and track metrics, including the number of users who open the newsletter, forward the newsletter and click through links.

News Department Budget

Below is a rather typical budget for a four-person news department. This view shows annual projections.

In an actual budget, you would have columns to track actual spending as it occurs.

You should know how to set up a budget in a computer spreadsheet program.

PERSONNEL Salary Benefits (20%) Total
News Director $50,000 $10,000 $60,000
Anchor/Editor $45,000 $9,000 $54,000
Reporter $40,000 $8,000 $48,000
Reporter $40,000 $8,000 $48,000
Freelance Help $20,000 $20,000
SUBTOTAL $195,000 $35,000 $230,000
OPERATIONS Equipment Replacement $1,500
Phones $2,000
Travel $3,000
Training $1,500
AP/Subscriptions $9,500
Supplies $2500
SUBTOTAL $20,000
BUDGET TOTAL $250,000

NPR Social Media Guidelines

NPR updated its social media guidelines as part of its new ethics guide.

The section begins with this admonition:

The internet and the social media communities it encompasses can be incredible resources. They offer both a remarkably robust amount of historical material and an incredible amount of “real-time” reporting from people at the scenes of breaking news events. But they also present new and unfamiliar challenges, and they tend to amplify the effects of any ethical misjudgments you might make. So tread carefully. Conduct yourself online just as you would in any other public circumstances as an NPR journalist. Treat those you encounter online with fairness, honesty and respect, just as you would offline. Verify information before passing it along. Be honest about your intent when reporting. Avoid actions that might discredit your professional impartiality. And always remember, you represent NPR.

NPR NEWS SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES

Local News Project

The largest and most comprehensive study ever done on listener use and appreciation of local news on public radio was sponsored by PRNDI and a consortium of stations. The “Local News Project” was carried out in 1998 and 1999 by Peter Dominowski of Market Trends Research.

The study included a qualitative phase (35 focus groups in 18 markets) and a quantitative phase (telephone surveys of 2900 public radio news listeners in 19 markets). This large sample brought a very low margin of error in the cumulative results.

Dominowski found that 88% of the listeners used public radio as a source for state and local news. Two in three gave local news the highest rating of “extremely useful.”

Dominowski found that 94% of listeners ranked the quality of national and international news on public radio as “good” or “excellent.” By comparison, a respectable 73% rated the quality of state and local news on public radio as “good” or “excellent.” As the researcher put it, “It might be simply said that listeners like state and local news but love the national and international news on public radio.”

About half the listeners were satisfied with the amount of local news they were getting. But almost 40% wanted MORE local news.

The bottom line is that those listeners already attracted to news on public radio value local and regional coverage in proportion to the national and international news. “National and local news and information programming is inexorably intertwined,” according to the findings.

Read the study for yourself: The Local News Project

Audience 98 Study

Public radio researcher David Giovannoni claimed the “research revolution” in public broadcasting began in the 1980s, mostly due to efforts by the Regan Administration to defund public media. While the defunding push didn’t get past congress, it did cause system leaders to realize they needed to turn their attention to what audience’s most wanted and what they were willing to help pay for. Giovannoni produced two landmark reports that have been influencing professional media managers ever since.

Audience 88

Audience 98

See also David Giovannoni’s website

Audience 88 Study

Public radio researcher David Giovannoni claimed the “research revolution” in public broadcasting began in the 1980s, mostly due to efforts by the Regan Administration to defund public media. While the defunding push didn’t get past congress, it did cause system leaders to realize they needed to turn their attention to what audience’s most wanted and what they were willing to help pay for. Giovannoni produced two landmark reports that have been influencing professional media managers ever since.

Audience 88

Audience 98

See also David Giovannoni’s website

Daybook Planner

News Directors use daybook planners to summarize plans for the day and communicate those to all concerned.

The sample below is loosely based on a format used at KPBS before the station switched to an electronic system.

The daybook includes the ND’s note section, an assignment grid (based on the newsroom assignment board), a calendar of staff vacations and meetings, and the dayfile of daily news events in town (which is a blend of wire and newsroom items).

************************************

NEWS DAYBOOK Wednesday, September 3, 2013

 You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good Morning!  Busy beavers around here.  Great teamwork on the Constellation coverage yesterday.  Always nice to hear our work on NPR.

Thanks to everyone who shared suggestions on this quarter’s public issue poll.  We’ll finish the questionnaire today and have results next week. We’ll review story assignments at the news meeting.

Speaking of which… the news meeting today is at noon in the conference room. Brown bag.

ASSIGNMENTS        
REPORTER SPOT FEATURE WEB OTHER
Beth School Preview (Th)  Feature photos & map
Bob CA v Jones: Closing Arguments Immigrant labor (Mon) Feature photos/sidebar
Bertha G.A. ATC shift
Karen Kaiser Report  Blog post ME shift
Kenny Avail Disaster Prep (next week) Feature photo. Graphics?
Kathy Co Supes Looking….
Zeke Avail Editing Editing TV project

CALENDAR

9/9                   NPR West Tour

9/10-13            Karen out

Weekly Meetings

Wednesday      Sept 3 @ noon                        Newsroom                    Conference Room

Thursday          Sept 4 @ noon                        Talk Show                    Conference Room

Tuesday           Sept 10            @ noon           Combined                    Boardroom

TODAY EVENTS CALENDAR

San Diego’s only low-income housing for seniors is now accepting applications for move-in this summer.  The senior community center is set to be complete by Oct.  Contact:   Jessica @ 619-296-060

8:30 a.m. SAN DIEGO – Opening statements are scheduled in the trial of Watkins, who faces the death penalty if convicted of murdering an 82-year-old woman known for her kindness to the downtrodden. Dept. 47, San Diego County Courthouse, 220 W. Broadway. Contact: court clerk, (619) 531-384. (POOL CAMERA ALLOWED FOR OPENING, CLOSING AND VERDICT ONLY. JUDGE HAS ISSUED A GAG ORDER IN THE CASE).

8:50 a.m. VISTA – A preliminary hearing is set for Quintero, who is accused of ambushing a sheriff’s deputy, wounding an Explorer scout with a gunshot and killing the deputy’s dog. Dept. 5, North County Regional Center, 325 S. Melrose Drive. Contact: prosecutor Steve, (760) 806-402.

9 a.m. SAN DIEGO – Trial is scheduled for Rucker, who is accused of shooting her boyfriend in University City and then driving to a La Mesa apartment complex, where she allegedly pointed a gun at police officers before she was shot four times. Dept. 38, San Diego County Courthouse, 220 W. Broadway. Contact: court clerk, (619) 531-383.

9 a.m. EL CAJON – Closing arguments are expected in the trial of Jones, one of three men accused in the hate beating of an undocumented Mexican immigrant in Boulevard. Dept. 12, East County Regional Center, 250 E. Main St. Contact: court clerk, (619) 441-462

9 a.m. BALBOA PARK –  Ford is celebrating 100 years in business.  Ford is donating one of its most technologically advanced concept cars to the San Diego Automotive Museum.  A breakfast and press conference will be held today.   San Diego Automotive Museum. 2080 Pan American Plaza.  Contact:  Dina @ 619-231-288.

10 a.m. SAN DIEGO – The San Diego City Council will meet. Agenda includes actions related to the redevelopment project at the former Naval Training Center; Council Chamber, City Administration Building, 202 C St., 12th floor. Contact: clerk’s office, (619) 533-401

10 a.m. ESCONDIDO – Police officials will demonstrate a newly acquired type of stun gun known as the M26 Advanced Taser. Auditorium, Escondido Police Department headquarters, 700 W. Grand Ave. Contact: EPD Lt. Jim, (760) 839-471

10 a.m. JAMUL – Firefighting officials will demonstrate a new brush-abatement tractor available for disabled and low-income senior citizens who need help clearing dry foliage around their homes. 20202 Deerhorn Valley Road. Contact: Troy, San Diego Rural Fire Protection District, (619) 669-118

Noon SAN DIEGO – San Diego Gas & Electric will hold an event to discuss San Diego’s entry in a competition on design and planning concepts for land use, transportation, energy and other topics. Contact says the “region’s vision” will be shown in a DVD presentation to regional planners who helped design the entry. The results of the competition are being announced in Tokyo on Tuesday. Lunch will be served at the SDG&E event, 8330 Century Park Court, Building 3, first floor video conference room. Contact: Ed SDG&E, (877) 866-206

1 p.m. SAN DIEGO – The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will hold a budget hearing on Community Enhancement. County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway, Room 310. Contact: Joe (619) 595-462

5 p.m. SAN DIEGO – “The Taste of Gaslamp” tour will feature samples from 33 restaurants and nightclubs in the Gaslamp Quarter, centered on Fifth and Island avenues. Contact says the event is expected to sell out. Contact: Gaslamp Quarter Association, (619) 233-522

5 p.m. LA JOLLA – A media briefing will be held to discuss a conference and “unofficial dialogue” on the current crisis surrounding the Korean Peninsula. The two-day conference, which occurred Sunday and Monday, involved representatives of North Korea and current and former U.S. officials and scholars. UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, the Gardner Room. Contact: Paula, UCSD, (858) 534-146; Dolores Davies, (858) 534-599

8 p.m. SAN DIEGO – Coldplay will perform at Cox Arena. Cox Arena, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive.

Story Visioning Worksheet

Story Visioning (Mapping) for Multimedia Newsrooms

This worksheet is to help reporters and editors plan better radio & mixed-media story assignments. You can adapt it to your newsroom’s needs.

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Slug:

Headline:

Deadline(s):

End Product(s)

 ________________________________

Focus/Framing

  1. What is this story most about? 
  2. Why is it important to us?  Why now?
  3. Who is involved? Who is affected most?
  4. What tension draws our interest?
  5. What main action is taking place?
  6. Where and when is the best scene/setting?
  7. What “contextual frame” is needed with this story?

 ___________________________________________

My Focus Statement (i.e., Who is doing What and Why):

__________________________________________

Interviews/Sources   (List for each)

Interviewee/Source:   

When/where: 

Questions:

___________________________________________

(What challenges might we encounter?)

 _________________________________________

Multimedia Elements:

Best Sound Opportunities:

Best Photo or Video Opportunities:

Best Interactive Opportunities:

Data Visualization or Mapping:

Reporter Hire Interview Questions

INTERVIEW RATING SHEET
POSITION: Beat Reporter
CANDIDATE:
RATER:

Rate each candidate on the following scale:
1 – Does Not Meet Minimum Standards
2 – Meets Minimum Standards
3 – Exceeds Standards
4 – Significantly Exceeds Standards

QUESTIONS

  1. How have you “assembled your career” up to this point? (What key decisions? Why? How did this experience shape you as a reporter?)
  2. How does this job serve as your ideal career move at this time? (What draws you to this station? To this particular position?)
  3. We use a beat system. What is your experience working in a beat system? (What beats have you covered? What is your familiarity with this beat?)
  4. Reporters work quite independently but area part of a team. How have you worked independently? And part of a team? (Give example of successful decision-making on your own? Give example of how you’ve contributed to a team or relied on a team?)
  5. Taking into your account your level of familiarity with the local community? The region and the state? What are some of the major issues we should be covering? (What story ideas might we consider?)
  6. You’ll need to divide your work between daily news AND in-depth, enterprise coverage. What are some of the challenges of that dual demand? (Have you ever had to divide your work that way? How did you manage it?)
  7. Describe your familiarity with new media. To what extent do you welcome the opportunity to report in other media? What do you think of our current efforts?
  8. Please describe the different kinds of “live, on-air” experience you have? (How much of it?)
  9. When it comes to writing, how would you describe your style? (What techniques serve you well? What kinds of stories do you enjoy? How do you take to the editing process? Examples of these points?)
  10. Give us an overview of your technical skills and abilities. (What audio programs do you work with? Field gear? Console operation? web tools? Examples of proficiency?)
  11. Is there anything you would like to add to further qualify you for this position?
  12. If you were offered this position, when could you start?
  13. Are there any functions of this position that you are unable to perform?
  14. Do you have any questions?

Rater’s Signature ________________________________________

Date ___________

Reporter Hire Scoring Criteria

Search Committee Selection Criteria
RADIO BEAT REPORTER
Score each candidate per category accordingly: 1=unqualified, 2=below standards, 3=meets standards, 4=above standards, 5=exceeds standards (or as advised below)
Education – BA meets standards. MA is above standards. PhD exceeds standards. Exceptional experience or amassing considerable non-degree education can serve as equivalent. Also consider grading above standards if the education is particularly well-suited to the beat, such as a BA in (Beat). Below standard may be reason to disqualify.

Journalism Experience
– Two years of journalism experience meets standards. Award above standards if cumulative experience is four years. To exceed standards, candidate would have six years or more of journalism experience. Below standard may disqualify.
Radio/Public Radio – Grade the candidate’s familiarity with broadcast news. Emphasize NPR-style news and high ethical standards. To meet standards would require some on-the-job radio experience. To be above standards would require public-radio experience (or considerable large market commercial radio experience). To exceed standards, candidate would have considerable large market or network public-radio experience. Below standard in this category would not disqualify candidate.
Local Knowledge/Beat Knowledge – Grade the candidate’s apparent knowledge of (Beat), (our state) and (our community). To meet standards, candidate would have demonstrated knowledge of (Beat) topics, or would have demonstrated knowledge of (our state) topics. To rate above standards, candidate would add to that further knowledge (of (our state) or (Beat) or (our community)). To exceed standards, candidates would demonstrate ample familiarity with all three subject areas. Below standard does not disqualify candidate.
CD Demo. Listen to the demo and score from 0 to 5 based on these considerations:

  1. The quality of the reporter’s voice (natural quality, enunciation, conversational delivery, appropriate inflection and confidence orauthority).
  2. The production value of the recording (was it cued properly, miked properly, free of distracting noises, good use of ambient sound or actuality, well-mixed?)
  3. The script writing (Does story grab your attention at the outset? Is there a consistent narrative style or structure? How are characters developed? Is the story focused? Is word choice precise and concise? Does the writing make the most of the sound? Is it creative?)
  4. The reporting (Is this an important topic (or an interesting topic)? Does the reporting bring out reason to care? Do we have the salient facts? Does it show good research? Do we hear from the best possible sources? Is it balanced? Is there an appropriate level of depth?)

Bilingual in Spanish/Ability to Connect with Under served Communities – Award no points if the candidate offers NEITHER Spanish fluency or a cultural connection with under served people in (our community) (e.g., Hispanic/Latino). Award 3 points if candidate offers EITHER Spanish fluency or cultural connection. Award 5 points if candidates offer BOTH Spanish fluency and cultural connection.
web/TV/Other – Award points for significant web experience, digital audio/radio technology, for bringing relevant television experience, and for any other notable attribute(s) that would enhance a candidate’s service.

Crisis Coverage Plan Template

The template below is based on a plan created by KPBS (San Diego) and shared widely through PRNDI.

Sample Crisis Coverage Plan

(Thanks to Michael Marcotte, Michael Flaster, Doug Myrland, Scott Horsley, Tom Fudge, John Decker, Tammy Carpowich, Leng Caloh, Grace Sevilla, Natalie Walsh, Alan Ray, Ed Joyce, Sarah Rothenfluch, Pam Hardy and Kenny Goldberg.)

See Also: Case Studies → KPBS Crisis Coverage 2007

See Also: How-To’s → Establish a Crisis Coverage Plan

Also: Station Action for Emergency Response (SAFER) Site

WFUV: Student Contract

(For More on How This Contract Works, see Case Studies → WFUV Student Training Program)

By signing on as a paid employee in the WFUV Newsroom, I agree to the following:

  1. To provide at least two weeks notice for any time off. I agree to work my normal shift on holidays, university breaks, midterm and finals weeks, unless I request the day off well in advance. I will show up on time for my shifts and stay for the duration. I will call the newsroom if an emergency prevents me from arriving on time.
  2. To prevent campus activities, internships and other jobs from interfering with my shifts in the WFUV newsroom. I will make WFUV my primary job and schedule any other activities around my newsroom shifts.
  3. To take responsibility for all station equipment. I will not bring food or drink into the newsroom or any studio areas. I will report all equipment problems to the News Director or Assistant News Director immediately. I will honor all rules set by the engineering department regarding use of the equipment (e.g. do not download programs or photos on any station computers without permission).
  4. To pay for any field recording equipment I damage, lose, or misplace. I will operate the equipment and treat it exactly how I was taught to do so. I will report malfunctions immediately. I will keep all equipment in its assigned kit. I will ask permission from the News Director or Assistant News Director before using or lending any kit. Upon my final day of employment, I will turn in the kit; otherwise, I will accrue a fine for each day the equipment is late, and understand that Fordham Security will be alerted. I understand that the same rules apply for WFUV’s press credentials.
  5. To stay focused and work diligently to complete news assignments, meet deadlines, and develop original stories. I will refrain from socializing, personal web surfing/emails/phone calls, computer games and other distractions during “slow downs” in the newsroom. I will refrain from posting anything in the newsroom unless approved by the News Director or Assistant News Director.
  6. To follow the directives of the News Directors and News Managers. I understand that in addition to the News Directors, the student News Managers have the authority to assign stories, edit copy and assist reporters in all aspects of the newsroom.
  7. To avoid writing extra hours on the timesheet on top of my normal shift hours unless first approved by the News Director or Assistant News Director.
  8. To dress respectably. I understand that business casual or better is a good rule of thumb and will not wear shorts, sweat pants or ripped clothes to work. I understand I may be called upon to cover last-minute news conferences or greet dignitaries at WFUV.
  9. To volunteer 4-hour shifts of active support during WFUV fund drives in the fall and spring. I understand that fund drive weeks are all-hands-on deck operations that require extra hours of all WFUV employees. I will contribute an unpaid 4-hour shift on the phones or otherwise behind the scenes during each drive to help make it a success.
  10. To attend professional development sessions. Because of my responsibility to develop my news skills and the costly nature of these events, I understand that my participation is mandatory, unless I give notice of a scheduling conflict on the day the event is announced to me (usually via email), or an emergency arises. I understand there are no exceptions for last-minute school work, extra-curricular activities, etc.
  11. To craft my class schedule to allow for free blocks of time if I would like to be considered for a News Manager or leadership position in the newsroom. One or two weekdays or free blocks on weekday afternoons are optimal for managing the newsroom, advanced field reporting, and special project assignments.

By signing this contract, I agree to honor all above rules and understand that violating them could result in suspension or dismissal from WFUV News.

_______________________________________________________________
Print Name

_______________________________________________________________
Signature Date

MPR News Tenets

 Bill Buzenberg
Bill Buzenberg

The former head of news at Minnesota Public Radio, Bill Buzenberg, shared his network’s “Ten Tenets” to a gathering of PRNDI members.
We believe…

  1. standards matter.
  2. journalists should make decisions about important news coverage.
  3. in the independence of MPR news.
  4. there should be a sharp distinction between news and entertainment.
  5. that content is king, and words are the key to that content.
  6. in appealing to the mind, not just the senses or emotions.
  7. credibility and respect are worth more than popularity.
  8. journalism is a profession.
  9. news is a public service, and not a profit center.
  10. that the First Amendment comes with enormous responsibility to serve the public.

See the complete list:
Sample-MPR News Tenets
Note that the tenth item also includes the network’s mission statement.