Stephen Lee and Jennifer Brown at NAB 2024
Stephen Lee and Jennifer Brown at NAB 2024

Get Known Podcast S5 E4: Jennifer Brown – CBS News Radio

Get Known podcast: An inside look at a major U.S. newsroom

Jennifer Brown is the executive editor of CBS News Radio based out of New York. We got the chance to sit down with her at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) event in Las Vegas in April. Jennifer and her team are responsible for all of the radio news journalism and broadcasts for CBS both in the US and around the world. We started our conversation talking about how Jennifer got into the business of radio news and then got into some of the basics about how the news we hear each day gets from the reporters out in the field, through the editors, to the anchors, and to our ears.

There are close to 700 stations CBS Radio feeds the news people rely on each day and what I learned is that keeping the pulse of everything that is happening at the rapid-fire pace of today’s media and social media is like juggling 50 balls in the air at the same time. The newsroom has to work like a well-oiled machine and Jennifer is constantly making on-the-spot decisions about what stories are most important at that moment and what markets it is relevant to. In short, This is a super high-pressure job and with today’s mass and social media, the newsroom has little or no breaks in the firehose of content they have to sort through 24 hours a day.

One of the cool things about this interview is that Jennifer was constantly using real examples of things that were happening at the moment as we got into understanding storytelling and the relevancy of those stories in the daily new cycle. Sometimes the story is not the event but the meaning of the story or a part of the event that has a wider application to people’s lives.  No matter what, it must be authentic and the editors are constantly working to capture that authenticity in addition to sharing the facts..

Jennifer’s core work focuses on breaking news from the U.S. but we also talked about some of the differences and story requirements for European stories to make it into the US media cycle. Radio broadcasting also has its differences from TV and video broadcasts. Jennifer helped give a picture of challenges, behind-the-scenes work, and dedicated teams needed to pull all this off.

If you ever wanted to know how the modern American newsroom functions and gets news out, this is the podcast for you.  Here is the interview with CBS Radio’s Executive Editor Jennifer Brown. Enjoy.


Key takeaways:

  • Things that happen in Europe need to have a U.S. angle or Americans involved to make the U.S news cycle. We need to ask why should Americans care.
  • A story needs to have something that emotionally connects with audiences. Just facts and figures will not do that. Stories must in some way engage or entertain to both capture and keep attention of a U.S. audience Impact is critical.
  • Diversity of stories is critical to the development of trust with the audience. Every story can’t be bad news or good news. Keeping in mind what people want to hear there are so many stories that need to be told and are even scary to tell. The choices have to be carefully made with all this in mind.
  • Jennifer’s favorite “Dan Shelleyism”: When building or telling a story, “make sure that story is today.”


Listen to the newest episode of the Get Known podcast with Jennifer Brown to learn more!

We hope you enjoy the podcast! Please feel free to email us with any questions, suggestions, and opinions to or tweet us at @SF_Agency!

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