TV newsrooms are much different than newsrooms for magazines and newspapers. Over my career, I’ve worked inside newsrooms in print and TV, pitching story ideas and approving stories in TV.
I always tell my team, you can have the best idea but if the wrong reporter is pitched, we fail. Securing media coverage is largely influenced by the initial research that identifies the right media contact.
Here’s an abridged version of the different titles in TV newsrooms and what they mean. If you’re short on time, you can just watch the video we put together on newsroom titles.
This newsroom title is exactly what the name says. The assignment editor is the hub of the newsroom, handing out assignments to reporters and producers. They also coordinate the photographer assignments.
However, this title is frequently deceiving when it comes to editorial power. In most newsrooms, assignment editors don’t have the power to approve story ideas. Instead, they’re the messenger who delivers the assignments. This is a great contact to get a story on the radar, but not the ideal person for story approval.
Reporters and field producers hold many of the same duties, only the field producer doesn’t get the on-air recognition. Field producers can be a valuable person to pitch, however, they still need to sell the the story to their bosses.
So just because a field producer likes a story, that doesn’t mean that the Executive Producer will approve it.
Segment producers are just like the name implies: they produce segments that run inside the newscast. These journalists can be hit or miss when it comes to getting a story on TV, depending on their internal power. Much depends on their influence inside the newsroom.
These titles are no different than other inter-office politics. Some of these producers are ambitious, pitching stories frequently, while others wait for the story assignment.
Show producer and line producers are similar roles but different titles. They primarily have the same responsibilities of overseeing the whole newscast.
Line producers have a lot of clout to approve stories but typically they are too rushed with the minutia of the newscast to approve story ideas. However, if a line producer wants a story in his or her show, he or she typically gets it.
This is the King of the newsroom, regardless of TV market. The Executive Producer is in charge of everything and the buck stops with them. If a mistake happens on air, the Executive Producer is blamed. If ratings collapse under their watch, the Executive Producer is fired.
This is a great person to pitch because you have effectively gone directly to the decision maker. If the Executive Producer likes the story, it will likely get on TV.
One more important note, the founder of this PR agency, Mark Macias, has held all of these roles with news organizations in different cities. It’s this experience that separates our team from others.
If you’d like a strategy for your business, reach out to us. If it’s during the day, you can chat directly with Mark by clicking on the green button at the bottom of the screen. You can also get a free PR estimate by clicking here.