Wauwatosa West Journalism Students Visit WISN

On Thursday, February 23rd, several West Side Stories reporters and Broadcast Journalists toured WISN 12’s television station facilities, guided by WISN reporter Kent Wainscott.
During the tour, they were allowed a glimpse into the world of television news creation. One of the first lessons students learned about television reporting was that one of the keys to quality reporting is an amiable relationship between the station’s employees. “We’re one of the few groups that get along,” said Producer Tonya Simpson.
The show’s anchors are given a script and notes to use for the show, but “you never have to rely on your hard copy if everything goes perfectly,” said anchor Mark Baden. Instead, they read their lines off of a teleprompter. The cameras are controlled robotically, and most shots are done by preprogrammed camera movements, although the technicians can manually move some cameras.
Even though it isn’t as clearly shown, to get the news stories, the station still uses a variety of methods. “People will call us” to report stories, said Wainscott, but the station also has contacts, and its own reporters, who go where the news is to gather a story. When this combined approach nets WISN an important story, they’ll make sure the viewers know. “You always want to beat the competition,” said Wainscott. “We’ll make a point of pointing out when we break a story.” However, he said, the competition between WISN and rival stations isn’t too unfriendly. “We won’t share stories,” Wainscott said, “but we don’t backstab [rival stations] either.”
The growing social media, internet blogs, and cable news stations have caused “a dramatic change,” said Wainscott. All of these have served to provide WISN and similar stations competition for news coverage. However, despite this, “there will always be a market for local news,” Wainscott said, “whether it is TV news, or on air, or whatever format.”