What It's Really Like to Work at a News Station / by Midori Ng

I recently started an internship at KING 5 News, a Gannett Broadcasting news station in Seattle. My background is not in journalism but I’ve always had an affinity for broadcasting (My dream job as a kid was to be a news anchor!).

All journalism internships are different because of the variety of departments at a news station - Assignment Desk, Digital Media, Sales, Community Relations, Morning News, Evening News and the list goes on. I was instantly drawn to the digital media internship to gain knowledge of telling a engaging and impactful story digitally. Starting a new internship is always exciting and nerve-wracking, but a valuable opportunity to learn about yourself and reflect on your career goals. I’m approaching my last week of my internship and I wanted to share what a typical day as a digital media intern looked like and what I learned over the last 10 weeks. Enjoy!

11:00 a.m.: Arrive at the newsroom — a much later start time than most jobs! Evening is primetime for news because all the reporters’ stories are aired. There’s a lot more excitement towards the end of the day so I worked out a schedule with my manager so I can stay for the 4 p.m./5 p.m./6 p.m. news! I open all the necessary tabs on my computer: TweetDeck - the fastest source for breaking news, Elemental - a video editing software, Presto - the content management system, and Chartbeat - a place to monitor trending articles on all Gannett news stations in real-time. When I’m ready to go, I ask the team if there are any stories that need to be written or proofread from the 9 a.m. editorial meeting.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: This is my time to write a story, get feedback from the digital media producers, and publish the final copy to www.KING5.com. Stories are written in AP style with a clear editorial voice. A good framework I like to use when writing is the pyramid method: who, what when, where, and why with the emphasis on the WHY. Some days, I would be writing about the Seattle Seahawks and others about a Washington couple winning the lottery. Either way, I send a draft to one of the digital media producers for feedback. This may take a few iterations but once approved, I publish the story and take a quick break!

12:10 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Now it’s time to prepare for Social. I spend about an hour exploring reddit, AP News Wires, TweetDeck, etc., create captions for social media posts and cue up stories using Hootsuite for the Northwest Cable News Facebook. Learning to have the same KING 5 “voice” when writing was a difficult concept for me to understand. While on Facebook the voice needed to be the same as web stories, but the “tone” of the social needed to be different. I learned on social the most successful posts were clear, casual, and human. This was the best way to relate to our audience on the platform of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: I have a working lunch at my desk. I like to spend this time checking my personal email and work email to stay caught up!

2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.: Back to work. For the next 45 minutes I write an analysis report covering top trending stories on KING5.com, KING 5’s Facebook, other Gannett stations, and USA Today. My job is to report on trending analytics, learning to use click-through rates, conversion rates, or estimated read time to prove reasoning on why certain articles are trending while others are not. Randomly during the day news anchors will also be filming segments for teasers of the evening newscasts starting in the afternoon - always be prepared to possibly be in the shot!

2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: I attend the afternoon editorial meeting along with the nightside producers, reporters, and other interns to share my analytics reports! Everyone takes turns pitching stories they think would be interesting for the 9PM/10PM/11PM shows. Last time I pitched this story and the nightside producers turned this web story into a package!

3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Time for another story. I tend to gravitate towards the “feel good” stories (community service, education, etc.). If there aren’t any leads, I will source through fan content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and KING 5’s internal submission site. During the high-time of SuperBowl XLIX, we would get more than 1,500 submissions a day. I got to pick the best photos to feature on our social media pages and occasionally put them on the air.

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: This is where the fun begins! Once the 4PM/5PM/6PM shows have aired, the raw footage is uploaded onto Elemental. This was one of the most technical parts of the internship with also the least amount of guidance. I use the scripts from the newscasts and the support of the nightside digital producer to pick which videos will go on the web. I edit the segment corresponding to a reporters story, write a caption, header, and clip the video. Reporters will send their story to the web team so we can proofread them before publishing. The first day I only finished about 3-5 stories but now I can get up to 10+ stories! Practice makes perfect.

Tidy up my desk, say my thank you’s to the team, and head home for the day.