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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Let's Start At The Beginning

At ATVN picking a lead to your newscast is one of the most critical parts of constructing the rundown. You need to be able to say with all certainty that the community we reach is going to be interested enough in your first story to continue to watch the rest of the newscast.

When news breaks at USC we gravitate to pick those stories to lead our show with because it is important to know the audience we are catering to will want to hear those stories first. While we do cover major national and international stories, it is important to remember the people we are creating the news for: our community.

As a lead it is important to keep this in mind and to know that in order to make a lead a compelling story you have to rely on your video and graphics producing teammates to get the best video and make sure your lead is visually perfect. Picking a lead might be the responsibility of the lead producer, but the entire team is responsible for making sure it comes together.

It's important to make sure that what you chose to lead with has enough elements to be a strong enough story to carry the rest of the show. You have to make sure not to lose your audience within the first few minutes of being on air. Keeping this in mind, I usually like to pick stories that I know I would care to hear more about when watching the news.

I think we've done an excellent job this semester not only picking our newscasts' lead stories, but also working together on this important job.

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