News Directors begin with the end in mind: What should our listeners hear on their radios? What matters to them?
So begins the recurring cycle of seeking, finding and telling the news.
Do you find it remarkable that people frequently misgauge the amount of work (and talent) required to seek, find and deliver the news? Those perceptions can forestall proper investments in troop strength, training and equipment. See Issues & Challenges → Making the Case for Original Reporting
Most ND’s find their biggest challenge is to balance the weighty demands of high quality news coverage with extremely limited resources. PRNDI has profiled a series of successful local news stations. See Case Studies → PRNDI: “Telling the Story”
This guide dwells on the News Director’s role in public radio. Some visitors may appreciate a comprehensive primer on the entire news process. We recommend Outside Help → Deborah Potter: Handbook of Independent Journalism
It is also important to acknowledge that in some stations the news is delivered through talk shows or current affairs programs. While the journalistic process in producing a discussion program is different than in traditional newsgathering, it has many parallels (and should be governed or assisted by the News Director). The most work currently underway on public radio talk show practices is at the Local News Initiative.
There’s almost no point in having a news department if you intend to passively wait for news to arrive. You must actively look for it.
Much can happen to stories after they’re assigned. That’s why News Directors or other organizers remain involved in the news gathering process to assure success.
Your verified news is a valuable commodity. Having invested considerable expertise and effort in seeking it and finding it, you don’t want to skimp on its production and presentation.