If somebody had said to me a year ago (as an eager-eyed, newly-joined pip) that I would be in the ITN news room chatting to Alastair Stewart – I would have laughed!
But, after booking, helping to manage and attending a trip to London with three ‘Directors of Tomorrow’ and the chair of the Guernsey IoD, there I was on a trip that I will never forget.
The beauty of working in public relations is the sheer variety of tasks it produces on a daily basis; so with my background in event management, helping to organise a business trip with flights, trains, tours and all the documents that went with it was an exciting task for me to sink my teeth into.
One of the tours was a backstage viewing of the ITN studio with ITV’s managing editor, Robin Elias and news journalist and newscaster, Alastair Stewart.
The tour gave us an exclusive insight into the inner workings of the creating of the ITV morning, lunch and late news.
We learnt was that the office lay-out is crucial to the planning and gathering of news from all over the world. All of that information from journalists flows into the newsroom and turned into a news programme by a small army of content editors, production specialists, producers, and managers.
As PRs it’s so important to understand how this process works – how journalists collect news and what they are looking for on a daily basis.
Newsrooms don’t have time for speculative enquires or incomplete information from businesses which is why PR professionals need to understand the process of ‘collecting’ news for TV.
As the nature of the news cycle requires a quick turn-around – so quick that a news item can be finalised and added during a live broadcast – your story needs to be presented to journalists in a way that helps them.
Studying towards the CIPR Advanced Certificate, meeting with local journalists and programme editors, and visiting the London ITN studios has enabled me to fully understand this process for clients.
As VIPs at ITN we were allowed to view the live lunch time news from the gallery – watching the director ‘conduct’ a news programme with so much going on around him and letting Alastair know what was going on while he was reading the news live was an incredible experience.