TV News 101: How it really works inside

The following guide will help you to understand the ins and outs a typical newsroom. With this information you will be better armed to create a strategy to pitch producers at a time they are most open for pitches!

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The newsroom is where the stories are gathered, written, put together, edited and assembled for the news broadcast or newspaper. (Yes! They still have those.)

Who is in the newsroom

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The number of jobs and people working in the newsroom vary depending on the media outlet. But one thing is always true – people in newsrooms are juggling multiple things and always seem to be busy!

Here’s some of the roles you can find inside a typical station, along with a brief description of the job duties. There are, of course, many more jobs inside of a station, but the following are the ones you should be aware of for your bigger goal of getting on their air.

  • Producers. Plans and manages a show from start to finish. 
  • Reporters. Investigates leads, gathers facts, speaks with eyewitnesses, and writes the story.
  • Photographers. Photojournalists record video of news to accompany stories or that visually tell a story on their own.
  • Editors. Process raw footage and transform it into the final product which is suitable for broadcasting.
  • Assignment Editors. Selects, develops, and plans reporting assignments, either news events or feature stories, to be covered by reporters. Answers the phone when you call the newsroom line.
  • Receptionists. The first point of contact at the news station. Likely the person who answers the phone when you call the station’s general number.
  • Executive Producers, Coordinating Producers, News Managers, News Directors. These are the bosses inside the newsroom.

A typical day

Each newsroom operates independently, but this is the typical dayside schedule for the average local TV station.


Morning Editorial Meeting

This is where most of the news staff, including the managers, meet to talk about the top news stories and where the other journalists pitch stories they see worthy of covering.


This is when the journalists are deployed to research, interview, write and record their stories. Teams typically have about 4-5 hours to get their stories completed.

On Air

Time to go live with your stories! The newsrooms are in a frenzy. Everyone is bracing for that “30 seconds to air” callout. And even the most veteran staff hold their breath for a second to make sure the start of the show kicks off without a hitch. 

O.K. I’m giving you the movie version of what happens. But every so often there is this kind of energy inside of the newsroom and as a self proclaimed “news nerd”, I love it.

But what is true, is that the time leading up to and during the newscasts are not the time to try and connect with anyone involved with the show team.

Post Show 

After the broadcast, the show team briefly meets to discuss the good, bad, ugly and on-going. (Meaning, those stories that are still breaking or require additional coverage.)

After the meeting, journalists (producers and reporters) return to their desks and start planning and work on future stories. 

Show times

It’s easy enough to check on your local station’s website for their live news show times.

But typically, local news run at any of the follow times:

  • Morning Show (5am, 6am, 7am)
  • Midday Show (11am, 12pm, 1pm)
  • Afternoon Show (4pm, 5pm)
  • Evening Show (6pm, 11pm)
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Prime Time to Pitch

Now that you have a general scope of what a typical day is like inside of a typical newsroom, it should be very clear that the prime time to pitch journalists is AFTER THEIR SHOW!


  • When they first arrive – their entire focus is on their next show.
  • During the newsgathering period – their entire focus is on the story they are working on. However, they may reach out to you if you’re one of their go-to experts.
  • During the show (obviously!).
  • On their off-days – you may not know their schedule, but if they are off of work, your pitch 100% will be buried. Journalists receive hundreds of emails each week.

After a journalist’s show is the best window because this is the exact time when they are planning and working on longer-term projects. They are also looking for new stories. After their shows is the time when they actually have the head space to listen to your ideas and consider your pitches!

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