Anatomy of a newscast: Part three

At six o'clock in the ProNews 7 newsroom, it's once again, time for another newscast. Much of the day has passed, but the race against the clock continues.

"Reporters, producers, directors, assignments editors live and die by deadlines and time," said Associate Professor of Mass Communications at WTAMU, Dr. Leigh Browning.

Time comes into play in the newsroom in multiple capacities: what time of day is it, how much time do I have to fill or how much time do I have before the next newscast?

"The first element of time is writing with in certain parameters because you only have a certain amount of time on the rundown," explains Dr. Browning.

"A reporter comes in and says, I've got a great story," said ProNews 7 Anchor, Lisa Schmidt. "They explain the story and we've got to say, it's a great story but you've only got 30 seconds to tell it."

Because the early morning , Daybreak, starts at 5:00 a.m., the ProNews 7 newsroom has been up and running since midnight, but that doesn't mean anyone in the newsroom has a second to waste.

"The life of a new s caster or anyone that works in this business really is," said Schmidt, "it's down to the second."

"Drive time, editing time, shooting time, writing time, delivery time, how much time do you have on the rundown, when is this deadline due, what time is the interview, what time is the press briefing, what time is the event," Dr. Browning goes on listing all of the ways time is factored into the day at any television news station.

Even though most of the dayside crew heads home after the six o'clock newscast, that doesn't mean everyone isn't "on-call" just in case. When the scanners go off in the newsroom, and it's something big, you better believe the news crew is expected to be there.

"When hard news," said Browning, "when breaking news hits, someone has down something, some prominent person has done something, there has been an unfortunate occurrence, there has been some type of tragedy, those breaking news situations -- all bets are off," she adds.

T hat means drop what you're doing , get video of the action, write it, edit it and have it ready to air as soon as possible. D on't forget , that also means get it online as soon as possible and most importantly, with all of the correct facts.

By ten o'clock, most everyone is ready for the day to wind down but, there's still one more show. Like before every newscast, anchors whip out the makeup and hair accessories for last minute touch-ups (yes, they do their own).

"You think that TV would be a lot of glitz and glam ," said Schmidt. " We come in and we do our own hair and makeup here, usually have about five to ten minutes to do that and it can be seen when we have a bad hair day and that's pretty rough ", she laughed.

So, if there's so much pressure and so many deadlines and critiques, why do we do it?

" It's for the thrill of it, you actually enjoy telling stories, the excitement of when the camera light goes on, the on-the-air button ", Schmidt explains.

When the clock strikes 10:30 p.m. and the last newscast of the day is finished, that doesn't necessarily signal the end of one day, but instead the beginning of another.

For part one of this series, click here. For part two, click here.