Amazing Kids! Magazine

Sci-Tech Kids – How the News Becomes…News.

By Brad Bradshaw, Sci-Tech Kids Editor

Have you ever wondered how the news happens? It used to be a very simple process: news companies would assign reporters to a story, the reporters would investigate what’s happening, and then they would return to their office to type up an article for the morning paper. But today, that process is too slow; we demand breaking news broadcasted over a variety of media such as television, internet, and mobile phone. Let’s do a little reporting of our own into how the news becomes the news.

It starts in a white passenger van. News companies, such as CNN, send out news teams in “mobile broadcast stations,” which are white, often decorated, vans full of the latest technology. These teams usually consist of three people: the reporter, the cameraman, and the driver/editor. Once this team reaches the location from which they will report, the reporter and cameraman will exit the vehicle to conduct interviews or begin recording. Meanwhile, the editor will prepare the van for broadcast. The first step is to establish a link between the van and the station (ex. CNN or MSNBC) headquarters. If this is local news, it might be in the same city; however, if it’s national news, the signal must be beamed across the country, or even across the world! The van has a satellite dish, sometimes on an extendable boom, to ensure steady, reliable, broadband uplink with the station headquarters. Secondly, the editor has to start up the computer system for the main job, namely, editing. As the cameraman begins filming, the video signal is transmitted via RFID (radio frequency identification) to the van. Inside the van, the editor can manipulate the video, editing its content for length, main topics, etc. Once the team is finished, the clip is sent to the news headquarters, where resident editors further influence the final product and prepare it for broadcast.

Once the day’s reporting has been investigated, filmed, and edited, it is ready to be broadcast on the nightly news. News anchors, sitting at a desk at the news syndicate’s main office, will introduce the stories recorded by the mobile broadcast teams. On television, it seems that these anchors are having a conversation with the reporters, saying, “Hi Jessica” and “It’s good to hear from you, Marie.” However, the reporters have all been pre-recorded; the anchors converse with a recording made hours, even days, earlier!