KOMU Creates New Copy Desk Function

Columbia, Mo. (March 15, 2004) – KOMU is pioneering an innovative approach to improving newsroom efficiency and upholding journalistic excellence in broadcast news. Nicknamed “the Tiger Chair,” this new script approval process in the newsroom allows a senior editor to check stories for grammar, fact error and continuity.

“There is simply not enough editing in TV newsrooms. Every newspaper in America has a copy desk function. Why not newsrooms? I hope other television stations follow our lead,” said Kent Collins, broadcast news chair and the initiator of the concept.

Only broadcast news faculty are allowed to sit in the Tiger Chair and exercise editorial authority. With this new position in place, student reporters and producers now have a central source from which to seek final script critiques and approval.

Tiger Chair
KOMU news anchor Jim Riek sits in the Tiger Chair, ready to approve scripts before the 10 p.m. newscast.

Although KOMU has long had a script approval process, newsroom workers and faculty say this will help meet the demands of increasing student numbers in the newsroom. Ultimately, Stacey Woelfel, news director at KOMU, says the Tiger Chair will help them continue their primary mission of making the journalistic product at KOMU better. Gaudy (adorned with bold tiger print), the Tiger Chair sits between the producer’s desk and the assignment desk. A two-way computer monitor allows both the Tiger Chair editor and a reporter to work on scripts at the same time.

“The origin of the actual chair is assuming legend status. Some say it was found at a half-price shop; others think it was purchased at an office supply store. Regardless, it’s a lighthouse that reporters can turn to to look at their material,” notes Woelfel.

Broadcast news students at Missouri get hands-on experience while working at KOMU, an NBC-affiliate and the only commercial television station in the United States that uses its newsroom as a working lab for students, and in the newsroom of KBIA-FM, a 100,000-watt National Public Radio member station.

Updated: March 12, 2020

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