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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Producers

Live from Los Angeles

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This week, we had a great show even with all of our challenges! But next week, I hope we do a live shot. Live shots add an extra something to a newscast because seeing the reporter on-location gives the audience an opportunity to see what's happening at that moment; viewers are transported as close to the scene as possible from wherever they're watching the news, making the story more active.

We, producers, tried to develop ideas in the morning meeting for a live shot. But, we couldn't find something going on on-campus later in the day that would be worthy of using a live shot. A live shot works better if it's a story that's occurring while the reporter is on-air, and has lots of great visuals to which the reporter can then gesture or reference.

Good examples of live shots include a fire or after a sports event. For instance, a great story (had it occurred later on in the day) we could have done a live shot for was the Walmart protest. Although the reporter did a great job, having her live during their march would have helped viewers understand the protest better. But another consideration we had in determining our ability to do a live shot this week was staff size.

We had fewer MJs and assignment desk editors, which was a challenge. Having fewer MJs prevented us from getting show content written, edited or filmed as well as publishing Web material – especially earlier in the day. We also weren't able to cover a lot of stories in the morning that we wanted to. And, having fewer assignment desk editors made it harder to get sources for stories and/or interviews were delayed until closer to air.

The second obstacle was the iNews server going down in the studio. This one was particularly difficult because Sarah (who was lead producer) and I (who was the video teammate) were essentially running the show “blind”; in other words, we had no access to the rundown to edit or float stories (or add a breaking news story), time the show, or provide score updates for the Sports section. We were on the phone constantly with our EP Jess, who was back in the newsroom, giving us constant updates.

Wednesday never fails to challenge us producers, but it's always a great learning experience!

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