Notes from KWWL Visit 9/19

Today, we visited the KWWL station located in downtown Waterloo. This exclusive visit, similar to my visit to the courthouse and jail, was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I learned a variety of interesting and important information that I would not have learned otherwise. For example, I learned that the news anchors can use a teleprompter. Not only that, but they actually control the teleprompter with their foot as they are broadcasting. “It’s kind of like rubbing your tummy and tapping your head at the same time.” said the KWWL director.

Meteorologist, however, cannot use a teleprompter. Yes, this means they must do everything off memory. Not only that, but they also have to move from a desk to a green screen while continuing to speak off of their memory. With that said, meteorologist clearly have the most difficult job. I gained a lot more appreciation for meteorologists after this visit. It truly takes a special individual.

I also learned news station must minimize harm when reporting stories. This can damage both the family in which the story pertains to as well as the reputation of the news station. An example would be reporting a suicide, especially one that involves a teenager and bullying. ¬†With that said, stations only report the suicides that are under criminal investigation. Also, you must never report the name of a suicide, unless it’s of a major celebrity of course. Either way, reporting suicides is a tough process due to the subject and the unwanted publicity both a family and case receives. In fact, families of the deceased often ask the story to be removed. As you can see, being a journalist and or news anchor isn’t always full of butterflies and rainbows.

In fact, being a journalist can be the exact opposite. For example, two journalists got fired, yes fired, in Florida after fleeing during Hurricane Irma because they were scared for their safety. This shows just how serious their job and how little room for error or fear there is.

So, if you can’t identify most suicides, who can you identify? Those are suicide bombers or involved in mass shootings.

I also learned some information about reporting in general. “If it causes a public spectacle, report it.”

Besides just information, I also got to witness an actual newscast. This was very cool. I noticed that some anchors have an iPad strapped to their hand when on air, this way the never forget what to say.

Perhaps the most memorable quote the director said was “You can do a story on a public policy, or you can do a story about the people affected by the policy. Which do you think is better?” Clearly the second story is better.


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