Anticipation is the Buzz Word
Anticipation is the key word when thinking about the lead story. During the morning meeting, we have to lay the groundwork for a story that will lead a 6 p.m. newscast later that day. That's a little less than 10 hours from the 8:30 a.m. get together. So, we have to consider what will be relevant later that day. One thing we also have to remember is that the lead story is not what we necessarily care about. It is what the viewers care about. Our newscast is broadcast to USC televisions, but we are also a voice within the community and covering community news is important. So we led with the story about the truancy law on Wednesday this week. According to the criteria above, that was a good story to use as the lead. High school students in the community were impacted by the ruling. The story also served as a follow-up to the package completed by another reporter the week earlier. I had first thought that the story about the Lucky Brand company moving to the Downtown Arts District would be an important top story. But when we called and found out that they were not hiring college graduates at this location and they were not hiring 250 people for jobs, it became increasingly evident that this was not lead story material based on the criteria we've learned as volunteers for ATVN.
I have found that lead stories often serve as follow-up to previous stories. When I was lead producing a couple of weeks ago, the LAUSD teacher accused of abuse at Miramonte was arraigned and that story became part of the lead story about the impact of the arrest on Miramonte students and parents. So, as lead producer, I had to write a new intro and lead based on the new material. Anticipation early in the day can only take a producer so far.
As a viewer of Annenberg TV News, I would hope that the lead story would pertain to me and issues that may affect me as a student or Angeleno. Localizing a story is important if it is not happening in our backyard. When the Japan earthquake and tsunami occurred last year, we needed to find Japanese students or members of the community who were affected in order to make it a relevant lead story for the area we are serving. I am honored to continue serving the USC and Los Angeles community in the coming weeks as a producer for Team Wednesday!