Anchors, news directors, reporters and producers are the most common job titles that assemble a newsroom but there are many more rolls that aren’t as popular. Assignment editors are what some in the business call “the back bone of the newsroom” but they rarely get noticed outside of the industry. Mike Anderson has run the morning news desk at KOB Eyewitness News 4 for the past 10 years and still takes pride in making an impact on viewers.
Mike is our featured journalist for our new “Media Spotlight” blog so we asked him a few questions to get to know him and what he does on a daily basis to report the news in Albuquerque.
What do you do at KOB?
My title is “Assignments Editor” but I like to think of myself as a “Domestique” which is a bicycling term for the guy who rides in support of the team leader. I answer phones, read emails, listen to police scanners, communicate with NBC national to see if they want any stories from us and tell reporters and photographers where to go.
What does a normal day on the desk look like?
A normal day for me is: stop by court and see who has been arrested and take the cases I think can be turned into meaningful news stories. 9:30 a.m., editorial meeting where stories for the day are decided. The rest of the days is spent managing the small fires that pop up the rest of the day. Toward the end of the day, make sure teams know where their live shots will be for the early shows. Then I turn the desk over for the night to the illustrious, Shaun Griswold.
How long have you been in news and how did you get to where you are now?
I got started in Texas working first as an editor while still in college (foot in the door!) then as a photographer. After that I was hired as a reporter at a small station north of Dallas that allowed me to hone my skills. Then I moved onto two other stations in Texas before jumping to Albuquerque. I have been at KOB for little over 20 years. First as a photographer for ten and then on the assignments desk for ten.
What is the toughest part of your job?
Waiting for someone (PIO) to call back.
What is the best part of your job?
Something new every day happens and getting to have a direct impact on what viewers see on the news each day.
Any funny stories from the desk and/or newsroom?
The police scanner is a gift that keeps on giving.
Any suggestions for PR practitioners calling assignment managers or newsrooms trying to pitch a story?
Send pitch about three days before event. Call day of to make sure it is in the planner and don’t take it personal if we don’t show up and/or we tell you we can’t make it.
What is your favorite place in Albuquerque to get your chile fix?
Green chile stew at Frontier, but really, I am known to hit any hole in the wall Mexican restaurant in search of the perfect taco. If you know where I can find the perfect taco, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org; you can use that for news tips as well.