It starts with an idea… a story idea. It can be in the form of a tip, a press release, or an event like breaking news.
Normally, news management and news producers have the final say as far as what is covered or not, and the reporters are assigned accordingly.
General assignment reporters are the foot soldiers. They go into the field and gather the elements, then review (log), write, narrate, and finally the story is edited.
These days, one-man-band reporters are becoming more common, but if you’re in shop with any kind of budget, there are two man teams that are made up of a reporter, and photographer.
The goal each day is to pitch and turn a story, and make slot (deadline). Then you do it over, and over again.