The traditional radio newsroom operates like an oil supplier: drilling for raw news, processing it, dispensing finished stories to customers. This “news pipeline” requires team effort from end to end.
(As technology changes, this analogy may change. We talk more about that in Your Medium.)
The following roles may overlap but the more your team can specialize in particular roles, the more expertise and impact each will add to your journalistic effort. There is value in having skills from all categories, but there is also a natural limit to how well one can perform one function while balancing demands of another.
These are the reporters and correspondents. They dig up the news that feeds the pipeline. Without them, you lack original raw material. Over time, they’ll include more citizen journalists. All newsrooms need professional reporters to truly distinguish themselves. The bigger newsrooms have multiple reporters that specialize in beats. Large newsrooms may organize teams around desks.
These are the editors, producers and writers. (They include the News Director.) Depending on their level, they help govern all or some aspect of the news pipeline. Upper level titles may include assistant news director, executive editor, executive producer, senior editor, senior producer or bureau chief. Mid-level titles may include producer or editor. Lower level titles include assistant producers, writers, production assistants. Organizers are crucial in seeing the big picture, allocating resources and generally making the news process go well. They are vital for quality assurance.
These are the anchors, newscasters and hosts. They engage the audience and deliver your pipeline product. They help polish and package the news. Listeners may identify most with these mission-critical teammates.
In some stations, the roles of gatherers, organizers and presenters are assigned to students, volunteers, interns or other non-professional journalists.
Stations may field a formidable team of journalists-in-training provided they balance their training efforts with careful quality control.
It should be mentioned that a well-rounded team may also include technical and support personnel. These helpers serve important roles but normally lack experience in journalism. A prudent News Director will encourage their inclusion in the team process — while seeing to it that quality standards are never compromised.