Broadcast News Behind the Scenes

[MUSIC] Hello and welcome to Talking
Points I’m Dave Kelly, Director
of Advanced Media Production at Cal State Long Beach. Today we’re going to pull back
the curtain on television news
and take a look at what goes on behind the scenes when the
cameras are not rolling. My guest today is
Elizabeth Sanchez. Ms. Sanchez is a Broadcast News
journalist and she is also an
instructor in the department of Journalism. Welcome Elizabeth and
thank you for joining us. Thanks for having me back. I want to mention that
you did put together a
book called water cooler. So that’s who our audience the
subtitle is behind the scenes
and off-the-record the untold stories from broadcasters now
this book is a collection of
essays from various broadcasters that you’ve encountered
over the years. You’ve written several essay in
the book as well these essays I
had a chance to read them they are a combination of poignant
stories tragic stories some
humor and some inspiring stories as well and what I liked about
it most is that it shows that
these reporters have a very Human Side as well when we see
them on television they seem
to be very stoic very much in control but they also have that
human side as well and then they
were affected by the news events that they cover even if you
don’t see it on the news what
motivated you to put this book together and recover a story and
then you go back to The Newsroom
and then you’re around the water cooler that’s why I called
watercolor or you’re at the
coffee machine and you’re saying okay so what really happened at
the store what was that person
really like when you interviewed her and so that’s why I decided
you know there isn’t anything
like this I’d love to tell more stories about what is going on
after the coverage of the story
takes place you ask these reporters to put these essays
together what was their reaction
and how was it difficult for them to put these stories
together where is would react
for them putting out a story but you know and then of course
journalist we’re all skeptical
so I ran into someone saying I just thought you was really
interesting it’s not it’s not
that I had anything really to gain I mean I self-publish to
the book and I just I ran into
into a lot of that but it’s a lot of these people that have
written an essay are my friend
my personal friends decided you know what I think you have a
good idea let’s put something
together into the story and that’s what you’re asking them
to do is to take a look at the
story and see how it affected you and maybe that’s where that
reluctance came from Human Side
of you I guess if you will because of you know there’s a
lot of labels being thrown
around such as you know that’s a biased reporter or you know
you’re there delivering fake
news and you never want that to affect your ability as a
journalist okay well on that
note let’s move on for a main topic which is pulling back the
curtain on television news so
for those in the audience that never been to a television
Studio never been behind the
scenes in TV news tell us what it’s like what does the news
room look like at the typical
local news organization who’s working in the in The Newsroom
and what time do they start work
if they’re preparing the 6 p.m. newscast Pam News. That’s Amore decent time and
you’re around 8 yes 8 in the
morning you’re at a table or there’s a whiteboard
your writing down story ideas
because everybody has a diverse background everybody reads
different things have different
interests so we can all come together with different story
ideas and then you come to the
table with the stories ideas something that maybe you heard
about maybe you’ve got an email
maybe you heard about it when you were driving in so then
then you decide okay what’s
newsworthy because it’s all about the audience I mean in the
end it’s all about the audience
what do they care about what do they want to know more about and
so a reporter may be assigned
one of these stories and then sometimes you go out you make
some phone calls you go do some
interviews and then you find out that it’s not quite what the
person who emailed me told me it
was going to be like so we can we have a saying in the news
business a good story ruined by
the facts and then it’s not a story and you have to drop any
have to move on to something
else and sometimes you may be working on two or three short
stories before your actual story
appears on the air and you don’t want to be accused of that old
cliche of never letting the
truth get in the way of a good story but just never sort of the
Twist on the the phrase that you
used so if it takes from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. to put together a newscast the
individual reporters The
Correspondents are doing their particular story switcher maybe
a minute-and-a-half 2 minutes
long why does it take so from 8 a.m. to 6 to do a 2-minute story
what are some of the barriers
are obstacles that you have to overcome during the day to
get that story down to where
it should be news is very reactionary you have to try to
find out if those people are
available to speak with you and in the broadcast business
you want to get that person
on camera and you have to physically drive to them to get
them I can try Technologies
fabulous but the best way to get an interview is in person and so
you want to have to drive around
and sometimes in Los Angeles things can take a long time to
get to because of our traffic
situation but you don’t want to answer to interview one person
you want to interview several
people because he really want to know more about the story what
I love about this business is
that you get a little bit of information about something and
then you start learning a lot
about it and in order to do that you have to talk to different
people and do a little bit of
research yourself so that’s why it takes all day you know when
you’re doing the Morning News
early in the morning at 5 a.m. a lot of people are unavailable
to speak with you in a lot of
times you’re looking at interviews from the night before
and just kind of retelling a
story maybe in a in a different way or react into it because it
happened the day before and what
about the late breaking stories where you don’t have the luxury
of of a long day to put together
a story and do all the careful fact-checking how do you manage
your time when you’re putting
together that late breaking story that’s a good question
when your winter there’s a
breaking news story you’re going to the situation you know
physically driving their you or
say it’s a fire or you’re trying to get ahold of the fire captain
of the fire department and maybe
there’s a public information officer that is able to give you
information and then you see the
firefighters there and you’re using a lot of your observation
skills as well and you know if
you see a fire and there’s black smoke you know that it’s still
going and if you see white smoke
you know that you know maybe they’ve got a good handle on
this fire and it’s almost out
so there’s a lot to learn as a journalist when you go out to
the seniors using your
observation skills cuz it also if you see a fire and you see
people out and they’re in their
pajamas or there are no you know no shoes on you know that they
and out of their house probably
with just the clothes on their back and so a lot of being a
reporter is using this
observation skills and then also going to interview people to
find out the facts of what’s
happening so that you can tell the view or the audience what’s
happening maybe run into traffic
to and you’re able to say you know avoid this area is there’s
traffic running from here to
there and then of course you have at a news organization to
make a helicopter up in the air
and they’re able to tell the reporter some information as
well what you’re talking about
is having good instincts business you have to be able to
work with producers you work
with an assignment desk that here’s the story and you work
with photographers and and any
work with you know if I if there’s a helicopter in there
you work with them as well so
yes good instincts and a lot of people helping you get the best
story out there for your viewer
another way of talking about having good instincts is a
phrase that’s called having a
nose for news and being able to I know stories in sift out
those stories now we work we’ve
been talking about what we call spotnews which is where there’s
a fire and you can see physical
evidence of that fire but when were talking about investigative
journalism then you really have
to have that nose for news to be able to sift out fact from
fiction or to go where things
don’t seem quite right tell us about investigative reporting
for a moment how does it work
and how do you pursue it what I learned about investigative
reporting as I love uncovering
wrongs I love seeing writing wrongs and and a lot of
journalists are skeptical and
you don’t just believe the first answer you that you have to
maybe look at multiple sources
and vet out the information to see if it is accurate there was
a story I did that actually won
an Emmy for about the 911 reverse time and when system in
San Diego and it not reaching
everybody of course on the general consensus when the press
release came out with so you
know we reached we reach this many people people were notified
by reverse 9-1-1 calls but
essentially we found route from our audience that that was not
the case so then we had to
investigate and then we had to you get in a public information
on filing a foia us a Freedom of
Information Act letter for the government agency to release
that information to you and then
what we uncovered was we found out that indeed the reverse
time and wants him to not work
for everybody and so it was not something to be fully relied
upon at that time of course they
approved it since them and it was good and and that’s what I
love about this business may be
you know you’re writing it wrong and then there’s Improvement
because of what you uncovered
and one of the aspects of investigative news is that you
don’t always get the answers
right away you may have to sit on a story for a couple of weeks
maybe a couple of months right
Trail you’ll stay with it let’s talk about The Newsroom
situation where the 6 news is
coming up stories are not coming together as well as they should
there’s a lot of pressure you
have airtime you have to fill that are time so that’s when
mistakes are made and people
aren’t doing the fact checking do you have to have a really
strong ethical Compass or
Professional Standards in order to prevent some of those
mistakes and how absolutely and
then the producer is in charge of the newscast though it’s
really on the producer to try
and fill that time to try to facilitate how they’re going to
feel that time and maybe they
have a reporter who has an interesting story and maybe they
say you know what we’re going to
ask you some questions about that story afterwards because we
just lost you know a
minute-and-a-half of news and we need to fill that time and
maybe this is of interest to
our viewers and then of course there’s some you know whether
Maybe Baby weather is more
interesting so they can add time to weather but it is hard when
something falls through call
it if missing a slide maybe reporter misses a slide and
that’s never a good thing in
this business because that means that story is not being told but
maybe the producer writes out
something really quick and maybe it’s just anchor reading it
face-to-face on the news instead
of having the reporter but yes that is an issue or whenever you
lose time and you have to fill
that time with something else we’ve been talkin about local
news but you also had experience
with national news with the national network with CBS
what’s the difference or what
what’s the difference in your experience between working for
a local news Operation and the
national network news anymore writers helping you on
everything is looked at with a
fine-tooth and making sure that you have every.. Every T crossed
and it’s a there’s a lot more
help at the local level you may just be you specially if you’re
coming from college you’re
getting your first job it is you being the reporter you being a
writer you being a producer you
being this dog for you being the editor where at when you’re out
with the network you’re being
sent to location and you have a team so maybe the reporter comes
there for instance if you’re on
a breaking news situation at the national news I was off and
flown somewhere and I can
remember this plane going down and I was going to the scene me
while I had a producer making
the phone calls telling finding out what happened and then then
calling me and telling me this
is what we found out this is what we learned this is what you
can go on the reporting they
already had a photographer there already shooting stuff so that
I can just go right there and
get it on the news as fast as possible as you also have the
opportunity to host a program on
PBS called a place of their own which was based on children’s
caregiving and as host of that
program that was a different experience for you describe
what that was like compared to
working in either local news or network news as a correspondent
hey I love that show still on
today I believe in in some parts of the country a place of our
own it’s it was important show
because it’s about caregiving in a lot of times it’s not just
the parent being a caregiver
these days that he’s a lot of grandparents are helping to take
care of the children so it was
aimed at all caregivers and it was had information about
experts and as being a
journalist really help me with that show because it helped
me to be able to interview
these experts and learn more information because I said
previously being a reporter is
about learning something new you learned something new you have
to get the background and then
you deliver it to the viewers in a condensed form of what’s the
most important thing that they
should know that they would want to know and leave no one
answered question so it was a
great experience I enjoy doing the show it was it was great
having a lot of a lot of
producers cuz you would have with a with a show like that you
have segment producers not just
a news producer to help you with getting information and getting
guest on the show we’re going to
have to go to the break and when we come back with a break we’ll
talk about how Elizabeth got
started in the news business stay tuned star that just got
arrested last night that’s the
job of a public relations firm or as a media specialist may
suggest new approaches for
promoting an idea or product this degree will brew an
invaluable asset for anything it
is that you do you can become a part of this exciting field with
a degree in counseling welcome
back to talking points I’m Dave Kelly my guess today is
Elizabeth Sanchez Elizabeth is a
Broadcast News journalists and Elizabeth before the break I
said that we’d start the second
segment by talking about your personal journey through
Broadcast News so let’s start at
the very beginning when did you decide that you wanted to be in
Broadcast News and how did that
manifest itself he works at the Los Angeles Times and we would
always have newspapers all
around we’d have the herald at the time in the LA Times in
the San Gabriel Valley Tribune
and I just loved news and I was curious about it and then I
watched news we would watch
television news in in our household because my parents
their first language is Spanish
and they would just always watch the news English and so I
enjoyed the television news that
I would go out with the recorder tape recorder at the time and
interview our neighborhood I
would interview our neighbors and ask them questions and I can
never ask him so why is your cat
doing this why is your dog acting this way and I was
curious so I I wanted to be a
reporter from a very young age and just try to find out how I
can make that possible and even
wrote a are two and Martin from ABC at the time so that ABC7 at
the time and then she went to
KCBS and actually asked her how do you get in this business and
she said that you had to have a
good sense of writing and you had to have a thick skin she saw
remember her saying and you have
to have a passion for it and and then she said any have to look
decent on camera that’s good
advice for man Martin how did you actually break in
and what were the traits and
the characteristics that you exhibited that allowed you
to break into what is a very
competitive Marketplace KFI radio in Los Angeles and they
had a news department and they
would do news at the top and the bottom of each hour until I just
called up and said you know do
you have any internships available and it was a new news
director at the time David G
Hall and he said come on over and I have you can have an
internship if you want it and
that was it was great because I ended up getting hired and
helping a lot and I did
different chefs and went out a lot of different stories and
then from there actually got a
job in Yuma Arizona that was my first television job so there’s
a lot of news stories there to
cover which is great so when you went to Yuma Arizona you knew
that this was a small market
and took a little bit of time I guess to refine your skills
there but then you quickly moved
on I think it was fairly quickly that you moved on before I
got this job and asking news
directors or other reporters their opinions and I remember
them make your mistakes in Yuma
start at a small station and that’s where you make your
mistake because you don’t want
to make your mistakes in a big Market you’ll get fired so Los
Angeles is market number to you
don’t really start their you don’t start there unless I’m
your assistant but you don’t
start as a reporter there at all you have to move to small
markets in the move up to Media
markets and then you get to bigger markets so I worked hard
there I worked I was a reporter
than I was an anchor and then because of my connection at KFI
that used to be owned by Cox
broadcasting there’s a still opening in Charlotte North
Carolina same company Cox
broadcasting I applied there and was surprised to get a job there
and market number 25 at the time
which is similar to San Diego market during this time of
development you were keeping
your eyes open and you found that opportunity and Charlotte
of course bet you have to have
the willingness to move I think that’s really critical lot of
folks that grow up in Southern
California who want to get into television news that’s one
of the real stumbling blocks
for them so what do you tell students about their willingness
to move around to do it if you
really want to make it in this business Southern California is
a beautiful place to live it’s
perfect weather and the rest of the country not-so-perfect
weather but you have to be
willing to do it and I don’t regret moving around the because
I I found that it made me grow
in it I got to meet with people from different parts of the
country and you know this
Charlotte was the South which was which was nice to get to
know some of those people and
then and then be with CBS News going all over across the
country and getting to meet just
different people and and I love that and loved to seen where the
beautiful parts of our country I
mean about Charlotte where they had four different seasons
I love that really didn’t
experience in Southern California and so it was nice to
see the spring the fall Winters
are mild so I could handle it be in Southern California Gurls
so having an open mind about
weather and location and geography is really helpful in
this industry and the business
itself there are always going to be good days and bad days and
during those bad days what was
it that kept you motivated the next day on when you say bad
days are you talking about when
things go wrong or you talking about covering that story
so there’s both kinds of bad
day than both happen in this business because sometimes
things will go wrong and you
don’t know where your story is going to lead you and you have
to have the tenacity to complete
the story or or bring it to a conclusion and and then also
there are bad days when you’re
covering terrible stories were people did horrible things and
and you’re having to it you know
hear all the details especially if you’re covering a trial or
you know that’s going that’s
taking place in your hearing all of the details and then you know
we have to say you know some of
these details are not good for viewers to hear and sometimes
you have to put a caution
cautionary line when it’s airing on the air but so yeah
they’re there different kinds
of bad days if you will. Absolutely right stories that
we’re not very pleasant I can
think of one in the south in South Carolina that Susan Smith
story that was the woman who
drowned her two children and lied about it and was quite a
national controversy at the time
you covered that story and it would you know if it’s
depressing it’s sad and it
involves a level of Cruelty with a mother to her children that’s
hard to imagine how do you have
the fortitude in the strength to pursue stories like that and
then not have it really affect
you negatively emotionally right Thursday census census
sensitivity that takes place as
a journalist and you kind of put your mind that you were covering
a story you’re there to cover a
story and you have to take your emotions out of it so that she
can cover the story effectively
that in that situation I did not have kids at the time that it
was is it broke my heart and
then after it was all over you know just be exhaustion for how
many days it took place and how
many days that you were covering it and then finally I remember
my last day when I finally got
off the air and just being exhausted and extremely
emotional about the situation
because you just he finally learned there was an arrest made
she was arrested when she had
lied about its for so long and then and it was heartbreaking to
think you and her two little
boys were killed at her hand she was convicted and she’s now
serving a sentence but I
remember to Inn in San Diego covering a story in of a of the
police officer that was shot
and killed and and going to the trial and just hearing about the
poor his poor family and how how
that felt in and becoming emotional after that because you
know that time I did have my own
family and it was just so heartbreaking to hear that you
know this this family had lost
their loved one at the hands of a of a killer and it’s you just
hear you get through it you
cover the situation and you move on to the next day and the
beauty of this business is you
know you cover the story and for the most part maybe the story
is over and you don’t have to
follow it but then in the case of a trial you are carrying on a
daily basis and sometimes I can
really get to you how do you prepare students for this life
this lifestyle of being a
correspondent reporter or even an anchor person what are the
most important things that they
need to be thinking about as they prepare for their careers. If they have to I say you have
to be a News Junkie I have so
many students you know do you watch the news you listen to the
news are you getting news from
your smartphone or you know what’s going on in some people
don’t listen to any news and it
surprises me then why do you want to be a journalist you have
to be curious about what’s going
on in your community first of all you have to be passionate
about it and you have to work
hard to get there you have to network to because everybody
knows somebody in this but then
you have to treat people right at that time because if somebody
treat here’s that you didn’t
treat them right then somebody knows somebody and no don’t hire
that person so I just tell them
that if they have to be willing to move to because again you can
just move up with in one news
organization you have to move around to different cities
bigger cities in order to move
up in the business and you have to be you have to be willing
to work with all sorts of
people all sorts of different personalities and you have to
be to be driven in order to get
the interview for assistant and maybe you know you’re not going
to get the first interview don’t
give up I mean so many students I sometimes think they email me
with work they’re working on a
story I want to talk to me about this particular story and I
think so many students
especially these days are not even wanting to communicate in
person which makes it difficult
they don’t want to pick up the phone and call low on time so
this is the lightning round
quick questions quick answers okay what has changed about the
news business in the time that
you’ve been involved in it and you’re having a terrier stories
on a different platform okay
with social media we’re looking at YouTube stars and Facebook
stars and so forth are those
people reporters or are they entertainers retainers for sure
they don’t follow the Journal of
professional ethics that code of ethics that journalists do so I
would say entertainers for sure
analysts are all about integrity about facts getting the story
right are we seeing enough of
that or not enough of that these days incredible we strive to be
truth to get our facts correctly
and you know the people there’s a lot of bloggers out there
they’re not journalist I think
the audience just needs to be informed thing to be educated
on what’s journalism what’s
not what is the line between activists and true journalists
protest a demonstration and be
able to be unbiased when you’re covering a story or are they
caught up in what’s called
infotainment or they still focusing on news in your opinion
they should be focusing on you
is but a lot of times when I ask people why are you taking
journalism class is over because
I want to I want to go do entertainment and you know it’s
hard with with all the platforms
that we have these days I mean there is fine line though is he
said there’s journalism and then
there’s entertainment and you have to know what you want
to which side do you want to
be on and sometimes there are journalist who Moved
entertainment and then you
really can’t go back 15 seconds left if there’s one thing you
can change about television news
what would it be and what would I change about television news
can I use the audience oci with
want the audience to just be educated on what’s
news and what’s not. But thank you for being here
today thank you and thank you
for joining us again soon for another episode until then I’m
Dave Kelly have a nice day.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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