For Times Reporters Appearing on TV, Extra Prep Time Helps

“If there’s a major shooting and the Justice Department has deemed it a possible hate crime, the public should probably know what constitutes a hate crime,” she said. “Are they on the rise? Are we seeing a trend? If someone else addresses that, great. If not, I want to make sure it’s said.”

Ms. Karni said the best way for reporters to learn how to present their work for a television audience is simply to do it repeatedly, but first-time guests aren’t completely on their own. The Times’s communications department offers media training for its reporters, which can include mock interviews. One thing that Ms. Karni said surprised her when she began appearing on TV was the streamlining and repetition necessary when summarizing reporting.

“You want to come up with one or two things you want the audience to know and really emphasize those,” she said. “Even if it’s not the exact answer to the question you’re asked, it’s better than trying to think on your feet.”

Even though a reporter may be on camera for only five minutes, the time required for TV appearances is hardly brief, Ms. Karni said. In addition to getting to and from the studio (during normal times, that is), reporters must catch up on all the news of the day, not just their specific stories. That can be the most difficult part, Ms. Karni said: the ability to pivot and to be prepared to speak on any pressing topic after a 15-minute cram session on the car ride over.

But journalists have been appearing remotely since March 2020, which enables them to commit more like 10 minutes of their time rather than two hours. And reporters can make late-night appearances on shows like “Nightline” without worrying about catching a late car ride home.

“It’s been a totally new world since the pandemic,” Ms. Karni said. “I bought a ring light for my bedroom, do my own makeup, and the whole thing is much quicker.”

Ms. Benner agreed but said she missed one big perk: the hair and makeup team.

“I normally don’t really wear any makeup, but they make you look amazing,” she said. “They’re also the funniest people and always make me laugh.”

Must Read