01. The newsroom meeting

Journalism is basically teamwork. The anchor(s) need(s) to know what type of stories the reporters are going to work on. The reporters need to know which angle will be used to treat a story. The editor-in-chief needs to round the troops up and organize and distribute work in the newsroom. During the morning meeting, everybody gathers together to choose the stories of the day.

Radio stations usually have three newsroom meetings a day

The morning one is the biggest one. It usually occurs at 9AM, just after the morning bulletin, and is used to choose the stories of the day. Another one then takes place at the beginning of the afternoon: it is used for rounding up, taking new events into account and adjusting the reports in consequence. Lastly, a final one takes place in the evening, after the last bulletin and before the night shift: during this one, the newsroom rounds up elements and gets the newscasts of following morning ready.

A meeting is time-limited

Participants are disciplined and respect one another. A meeting is not a boudoir where everybody is free to chatter inanely. It lasts between 45 minutes and an hour, so that the reporters can get to work as quick as possible, and the anchor can start getting the bulletin ready.

How to manage a meeting

The first way is the authoritarian one. The editor-in-chief comes in with an already completed, non negociable list of stories, and distributes it among the team. The second way is modern management. The meeting begins with a round up of the journalists’s ideas and their point of view on the news, then some adjusting is done taking into account what can’t be missed: meetings that are already scheduled, press meetings, ongoing investigations…

An example: the morning meeting

It’s 9′ o clock, all journalists scheduled to work are present. Getting there on time is a must.

First step :

The morning anchors get to speak first for a critical analysis of the morning broadcast : did the reports give satisfaction ? Was there anything we missed ? If so, how can we make up for it ? Then the journalists and the editor-in-chief get to speak and give out a rapid analysis. All of this lasts 10 minutes, without any conflict or unnecessary chit-chat.

Second step :

Round table discussions: Time to gather the journalists’s ideas and their opinion on the news of the day. What works best is having a big paperboard where suggestions can be noted and eventually erased. This way everybody can see how the thought process works. Compare suggestions with the agenda of the day: determine what is top priority and what can wait until later. Finally – it’s the longest part of the meeting – the team picks and discusses the angles that will be used to treat the chosen stories (actualities, packages, voicers, interviews…) Once the to-do list of the day has been settled, everyone has managed to get a clear idea of how the day will go, and can get down to their tasks. Dialogue strengthens a team’s motivation. The other two meetings – afternoon and evening – are rather rapid round table discussions during which elements are gathered and adjustments are made.