Watch It Made Blog

Posts for December 2007

In our world of 24-hour media, news flows like running water—it's easy to take it for granted. But how exactly is the news brought to our television screens, newspapers, and web browsers? Several of the media tours we cover in Watch It Made show their visitors the inner workings of the news business.

Since Ted Turner introduced round-the-clock television news with CNN in the 1980s, the network has become one of the major news-providers in the world. You can tour the headquarters of CNN in Atlanta and CNN's bureau in New York (Inside CNN). At the CNN Center in Atlanta, you see a typical studio and its broadcasting equipment. Through glass walls high above the main newsroom floor, you can also observe producers, writers, and anchors as they do research, gather news, and report. At CNN New York, your tour includes a visit to an interactive special-effects area. Here you experience technology that plays an important role in news broadcasts. A visitor in your group who isn’t shy can volunteer to demonstrate the use of a teleprompter. This device feeds lines of text to anchors as they gaze at the camera, letting them talk directly to viewers while they read out news. (This isn't as easy as it seems.) You also look at a control room, visit the studio floors of popular shows, and see the computer hub that manages CNN's flow of information.

Founded in 1872, The Boston Globe has the largest newspaper circulation in New England. Your tour through its main facility shows the process of news-gathering, reporting, printing, and distribution (and the online edition at You see the large open offices where journalists in various departments research and write about news. The tour also provides a look at the massive three-level presses that spin out hundreds of thousands of papers a day.

The Chicago Tribune printed 400 copies of its first issue on June 10, 1847. It now prints that many newspapers in less than a second on 10 massive offset presses that produce up to 55,000 newspapers an hour and more than 1 billion copies a year. Tours of the newspaper's printing plant (call first, as they aren't always available) give a firsthand look at how the Tribune is printed, inserted, bundled, and delivered by one of the world's largest and most technologically advanced newspaper-printing facilities.

At the Los Angeles Times your tour begins with its history and how it has grown along with the population and economy of southern California. Then you visit the newsroom, where reporters research stories and rush to meet deadlines. See how the editorial department works, learn about the paper's different editions, and walk by the library. Photography buffs will enjoy the magnificent display of old cameras used by staff photographers. Huge black cameras with giant flashbulbs recall a time before television, when newspapers were almost our only eyes on the world.

For more eyes on factory tours and other workplace tours, see the 4th edition of Watch It Made in the U.S.A.

Posted By Karen Axelrod Dec 10, 2007