On Monday, October 24, students from Professor Lamberth’s Broadcast Journalism class toured the news station of KABC Los Angeles in Glendale, CA. Diane Medina, Vice President of Diversity and Community Relations, gave Professor Lamberth and the six students a tour of the news room, assignment desk, control room, and studios. ABC7 moved into its state-of-the-art facility in December of 2000, and the news team keeps it busy 24/7. As the most watched television station in Southern California, Medina explained that the number one priority of ABC7 is to be the first to report the news.
In the news room, Medina showed the students that everything was set up so that breaking news could be broadcasted within minutes. A camera is set up right in the news room, so that a reporter can go on the air immediately, even if the studio is not prepared. Also, television screens are hung all around the perimeter of the news room, and the news team periodically glances up to ensure their competitors are not reporting anything before them. ABC7 also has its very own seismograph that is on camera day and night to record any earthquakes. If the graph records anything, a red light begins to flash in the news room, alerting reporters. Even though many things are constantly happening in the news room, the multi-tasking news team never loses their focus, but keeps their concentration on the task at hand.
The group then moved into the control room and watched as one person, the director, controlled everything from the cameras to the audio while communicating with the stage manager on set. While there, the students heard the producer cutting stories from the newscast because the President of the United States was landing in Los Angeles at that moment, which took precedence over what had been previously planned. From the control room, the students saw Barack Obama deplane and board a helicopter to a fundraising dinner live.
Finally, Medina brought the group to the studios. The first studio was empty, but Medina informed the students that this particular sound stage is often rented out to film movies or shows. The students were intrigued by the fact that scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean had been filmed in that very room. The second studio contained the news set, and as students entered, they saw news anchors David Ono and Ellen Leyva broadcasting the 4pm newscast. A stage manager was the only other person on the set, giving instructions to the anchors. When that newscast ended, the anchors switched out and the students got their picture taken with the popular Marc Brown and his current co-anchor Michelle Tuzi.
Throughout the tour, Medina explained every aspect of the TV news station and how every part works together to bring news to the public in a timely fashion. However, at the same time, tasks in the newsroom are not as specialized in the 21st century as they were in the past. According to Medina, the reporter of today has to be a multi-media journalist (MMJ) with abilities to find news, research, write articles, capture photos and videos, edit, and post news online, among other things.