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When a news editor asks you to do a story, he or she should provide you with a briefing about the story and its potential, together with any paperwork to support the story — council minutes, a report or a press release. There may, of course, be no briefing at all apart from, 'Get to such and such by this time and see what's going on'. Make sure you understand what it is the news editor is after. fie or she should tell you the kind of story hoped for, how much space (or time) may be available and where it's likely to go in the paper or bulletin. Instructions such as; 'I' am looking for this to lead an inside page', or 'I' m looking for twenty to thirty seconds from this', should give you some idea of what's expected. This does not mean you need to stick rigidly to the brief. If the circumstances have changed radically when you arrive, plans may need to be rethought. You should alert the newsdesk so that they can reconsider what they want to do. It's no good dashing back into the office two minutes before deadline to tell the news editor that everything's changed and the story's now worth the front page or five minutes at the top of the bul-letin. It may well be too late to make t hose changes. But if you warn the news editor as soon as you can (mobile phones make that easy these days) then he or she can have made arrangements to change the running order so that things are all ready if you come back with the goods. On radio, the reporter should also brief the news editor on the type of treatment the story is getting, such as live two-way discussion between the reporter and the presenter, an interview or a package.

If you are working on a story of your own, tell the news editor about the story and its strength in a memo, phone call or chat, depending on the urgency of the story. If you are out and about and see a news event such as a major house fire, then a phone call is clearly the way to contact the news editor, so that he or she can arrange coverage. Remember — don't just ignore the job you had been going to unless the news editor says so.

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