I was recently asked compare and contrast the hospital and a newsroom.
There are many similarities in the two workplaces, despite the differences in the specifics.
The newsroom has cameras, lights, and editing equipment, whereas the hospital has ventilators, dialyzers, and monitors -- different types of machinery, but they must all be fully functioning for optimal work to get done. The hospital has doctors, nurses, techs, and other support staff. The newsroom has reporters, photographers, producers, directors, and many more. Everyone has different jobs, but must work as a team to achieve the ultimate product.
The differences come from how and where the work is done, and when it gets done.
People come to the hospital or doctor's office to get care. News gets gathered from out and about, and for much of the news team only a small part of the day is spent at home base. If there are complications during a surgery, the procedure takes as long as it takes to address the patient's needs. In news there is a firm time deadline as to when a story hits the air, no matter how complicated it was to gather all of its components through the day. If necessary, a doctor can spend longer with a patient who has a long list of complaints. In news, ready or not, your time is up after 75 seconds, and the newscast is on to the next item.
Is one realm more important than the other? While the hopsital deals with life and death, generally in an acute way, the newsroom also deals with life and death, but for those who aren't in crisis. Viewers are ordinary people going about their everyday lives, looking to learn something relevant to their own lives from the latest tragedy, the weather report, the sports scores, or a recent medical study. The hospital focuses on the individual, but the newsroom targets the masses...those not yet in crisis, and hopefully the information presented in the news gives people a sliver of insight into how to stay safe and healthy. That is important, too.
By Dr. Maria Simbra, Medical Correspondent, KDKA-TV