Tips for Breaking News Reporting
A Breaking News Reporter must be fully prepared to step into the breaking news arena at any time day or night. The key words are NEWS and REPORTER, which carry the “to the minute” sense of urgency. News reporters must meet deadlines — so the news can hit the wire or meet the next broadcast cycle. Therefore, photographers, videographers or journalists who focus on breaking news must have the right credentials to gain access to the scene, be fully aware of the responsibilities for covering the scene and then get the story to the right news outlet without delay.
First and foremost, the right credentials are a requirement. Most officials require identification that can be verified on the spot if they do not recognize you as a breaking news reporter. So on your down time, it’s a good idea to visit your local fire department and law enforcement offices. Introduce yourself as a news photographer or journalist and ask for any guidelines or tips they might have on working at the scene. Fire departments sometimes have their own ‘sticker passes’ that they have at the scene so other officers know that you have the right to be there. However, if the scene becomes dangerous, you must follow directions and leave – even if you have stickers, press cards or breaking news documentation.
Presenting a professional image is twofold. Having the right credentials are a vital part of your image.That means your appearance, conduct and confidence are important. Having the right equipment to do the job and report professionally are equally important. Other items such as Breaking News Photographer or Journalist business cards can enhance your status and be useful. You might choose to have one that states your specialty such as Crime Reporter, Insurance Photographer, or another title that describes what you really do. Hats or jackets with your news gathering logo make you more visible and easily recognized.
Reporting breaking news is serious business. Photos, facts and accuracy are crucial to getting the news out. No guessing ever. If you do not have the facts, do not report it. Remember rights to privacy still prevail at a news scene, which means bystanders and first responders are not the news. Breaking news is often not pretty, so treat it with utmost respect and accuracy.