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News Literacy Week: How the news gets made

A look inside WCPO 9's process
WCPO building
Posted at 5:12 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 19:54:16-05

Editor's note: This story is part of WCPO's partnership with E.W. Scripps Co. and the News Literacy Project to celebrate National News Literacy Week, Jan. 24-28, 2022.

CINCINNATI — If you’ve ever wondered how a news story made it on the air or online for WCPO 9 keep reading.

Stories at WCPO 9 go through a complex process to make it on television. From the initial pitch, to making it through numerous editorial meetings, to writing, revising, editing and finally airing on television and publishing on the internet.

Finding the Story
The stories that make it at WCPO 9 are compelling and local. It starts with a pitch, usually from a reporter or someone in the newsroom who’s encountered something or seen something out in the community.

“Sometimes it feels like we're playing Jenga,” said Senior Manager of Editorial, Molly Miossi. “With all the different things that we have to cover. All the press releases that are coming into us, all the things that our reporters are finding happening in the communities that we want to tell.”

Story ideas are submitted through an online system that managers can look through and start a conversation about what’s newsworthy for that day. Those ideas are then passed out and reporters get to work on tracking down interviews and putting the story together.

Breaking News
Keeping up with what’s happening is not an easy task. Assignment manager Ramsay Fulbright and his team are in charge of keeping track of breaking news and making sure there are enough resources to cover a breaking event, all while juggling the resources that are being used for the community stories already underway.

“That’s one thing that people always talk about, why didn’t you cover this, why didn’t you cover that. I don’t think they realize the answer is I only have a finite number of people,” said Fulbright.

The assignment desk has several news scanners to help keep track of the emergencies happening in our area.

“We have seven different scanners from various counties around the area that we have a staff member listening to pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “So, we're always hearing what’s going on in town.”

Fulbright says another important tool to keeping up with what’s happening right now is calls from viewers and social media.

“We follow various different agencies on Twitter, and various Facebook pages and they do a great job of putting up updates,” said Fulbright.

How reporters gather
On the day we shot this story, reporter Josh Bazan was assigned to a fun story about a fan gearing up for the Bengals playoff matchup against Tennessee.

“Something like the playoffs is a big thing that everybody is paying attention to,” said Bazan. “There's almost an infinite number of stories. It's just a matter of finding which ones are interesting and sharing those really cool stories about our community.”

Bazan is a reporter, but he’s also considered a Multimedia Journalist, which means he can do every aspect of news gathering: He can shoot the interview, write the story, and edit it for publication when he’s assigned to work alone.

“It has its challenges,” said Bazan. “I like it. You get more control over the story. I get to shoot everything. I do the interviews myself and I edit the story. So, there's more control over every aspect of it. But that means there's more work to do. So, it's got challenges but it's fun and I enjoy it.”

Stacking the Newscast
Producers are who is responsible for filling up the newscast. It’s a mix of the stories assigned to reporters for the day, breaking news and national news that may have an impact on local viewers.

“I always ask myself is, will people care about this? Will a mom care about this will someone my age care about this will someone twice my age care about this,” said Producer Dan Wohler.

Each show gets filled with stories ranging from the Bengals recent win over the Titans to the latest on COVID-19.

“The virus kind of impacts every facet of life now,” said Wohler. “Something may be changing because of the virus or something maybe new because of the virus. It feels like everything is kind of like a COVID story at this point.”

Making it in front of you
Before the story makes it on television and online, there are several eyes checking it to make sure the facts are straight, and you are getting all the information you need from that story.

“The stories that we tell are about specific neighborhoods, about your community leaders, about your city leaders, and we try to tell stories that, whether it's the biggest national story of the day, how is that going to impact you here locally,” Miossi said.