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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Living the Life, Being LIVE

This week, I had the honor of leading Tuesday's newscast. We didn't have a streambox operator or someone to help the reporter skype in a LIVE shot. But we made things work! And the newscast, the beginning at least, turned out great.

It was a typical news day. Our only BREAKING NEWS was the stabbing at Lone Star Community College in Texas. Everything else we had in the rundown during the day pretty much stayed in the newscast. Even our LIVE shot remained the same.

Tuesday was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's last State of the City address. He was scheduled to give his speech at 5 in the afternoon. We expected him to end right as our show would begin at six. So, what did we do without a LIVE shot operator?

Team Tuesday decided to have our reporter call in. First, he would have to tweet and email us photos of the address so we could put something together for the show. We had a full screen with his picture to introduce him during the toss, and we edited a photo slideshow together to cover his audio.

We also had a back up, just in case the LIVE shot wouldn't work out. Thankfully, it worked perfectly. Matt started talking right on cue and he ended with time to spare.

So what made this LIVE shot so successful? Well, there are a few things to consider before you send out a reporter.

1. LOCATION- We want an exciting location where either something is happening, something is about to happen, or in our case, something just ended. If this were an 11 o'clock show, we probably wouldn't do a LIVE shot at UCLA. If our reporter were on camera, they would see people setting up, wrapping up or Villaraigosa speaking at the podium. Broadcast is for TV. It's about sound and visuals. While ours was a phoner, the location still made perfect sense.

2. TIMING- Like I said earlier, we need to make sure we're sending our reporter out to an event that is hopefully happening at that time. News is about NOW. Why send someone to a place LIVE if there's nothing happening at that moment? Time in broadcast is about being current and staying updated.

3. CONTENT- Just like any other story, we want to produce elements with good content. If we send a reporter to a LIVE shot with a great location and at the perfect time, what are they going to bring back? Is this something our viewers care about? Will they be able to provide information that's necessary to know at that moment? In our case, we wanted to know about the Villaraigosa's speech before it happened, when it happened and what had happened. It made sense for our reporter to complete a wrap up during our LIVE shot.

I'm really happy with the way this week's newscast turned out. While there were a few things I probably would have done differently, I'm glad we managed to put together the 30 minute show. Just saying, for once we didn't have Team Tom on Team Tuesday. We went LIVE, we lived LIFE and took a chance. I'm just glad it paid off.

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