Luckily, I had the opportunity of touring CNN Headquarters located in downtown Atlanta. Being able to witness firsthand how the news is ran certainly put things in perspective. In school, you always read about how a newsroom operates but you never really understand what it takes to get the story out in a timely manner until you’re in that kind of environment.
CNN is different from other networks however. It’s the world’s first 24-hour news network. They are constantly working around the clock and from several different locations. During the tour, I had the chance to see how one of the many control rooms work. You have the director, and I believe it was the producer right beside that person. They have to communicate with other directors and correspondents at different locations on how the show must be ran.
The technical director was pretty fascinating to me. They’re responsible for all the changes in video during a newscast. They use like this motherboard that has so many buttons to switch frames, add things if necessary, etc. Essentially, the technical director acts as the director’s right hand by keeping track of the timing of packages and other video segments.
HLN was a studio I had the opportunity to visit as well. It was relatively more quiet than the other sets. The anchor was in the middle of an interview and the stage manager tells the anchor when to standby, directing them from behind the camera.
If there’s one thing I took away from this experience, it’s that there’s way more that goes on behind the scenes than what we are led on to believe. It’s intense and timing is extremely sensitive so make sure to get anywhere you go early!