Last night, I was sitting in the newsroom at Al Jazeera's studios in Kensington, waiting to go live on the 10 o'clock news to talk about the Evening Standard going free. It occurred to me that although I spend half my life in studios (or so it seems), many people will visit a TV or radio studio much less often. So I thought I'd make a few notes about who does what.
Yes, I know, I ripped-off the title from a best-selling book I've never actually read. That's the journalist in me. Anyway, I thought I'd try to present a summary of ten important media roles that can confuse people, so here goes:
* The editor's decision is final. Go to them if you want something done, or seek redress.
* The leader writer is often anonymous, and seeks to summarise a newspaper's views.
* The specialist correspondent is your friend, so find out their interests and talk to them.
* The staff reporter is a fixture - be nice to them too, and remember their name
* The researcher may be a reporter or editor one day. Never patronise them.
* presenters are not usually experts, but don't underestimate them.
* technicians will help you if you are nice to them
* producers are on the way to becoming editors, and have a lot of power over how you appear
* The floor manager must be obeyed at all times.
* As a last resort, keep in touch with a good lawyer.
So, in summary, my advice is "be nice", whether you're dealing with media folk or not.