Who's Who in the Newsroom

If you are talking to the wrong person in the newsroom, you are not only wasting their time, you’re wasting your own as well. Understanding the difference in roles among members of the news media can be important in getting your message into the right hands. While titles can vary across newsrooms, here is a quick rundown of “who’s who” in the newsroom.

Newspaper Editor:
These individuals serve as gatekeepers, making decisions on the types of stories that make it into print. They can also make changes after the reporter has finalized a story. Oftentimes they cover a specific topic or a series of topics, such as Health, Education or Crime.
Reporters are out “in the field,” working to uncover stories, research information to support their stories and conducting interviews. Pitch reporters on stories specific to the areas they cover.
These individuals are the “face” of the TV news. While they have an extremely public presence, they typically do not control which stories get on the air. Consider inviting anchors out to events as a local celebrity.
Assignment Editor:
These individuals assign stories to reporters and photographers. Depending on the size of the outlet, there are typically several assignment editors who work during the week and another who covers the weekend. When calling or contacting a station, ask for the assignment editor to make sure they are aware of your event or story idea.
Producers typically work in the broadcast sector and brainstorm story ideas. Many times, producers work on longer stories called “packages” or a series of stories being covered by the outlet.
Photographers accompany reporters to capture the visual and auditory elements for a story. Sometimes photographers cover a story independently of a reporter. When it comes to newspaper photographers, the stories they cover independently may not be exhaustive in length, but they may get front page coverage if the photo is a good one.
Editorial Boards:
This group of individuals, usually at a print publication, makes the decisions on what editorials will run in the publication. Set up a meeting with the editorial board to try to get on the radar of the publication.
Calendar Editor:
These individuals are responsible for publishing the outlet’s calendar or events section. Send announcements or media advisories for special events and other Safe Routes to School activities.