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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Producers

Keep Calm and Carry On

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Miyamoto Musashi said in his Book of Five Rings, "If you wish to control others, you must control yourself."  And when breaking news hits, no other mantra I know fits that bill.  I feel like I write about this a lot, but keeping a level head is incredibly important.  Maybe I feel as though I'm always in a constant state of panic throughout the newsroom--as evidenced by something I remember from my lead producing shift from last week which I'll bring up later--but it seems as though I'm trying to formulate a plan B long before I ever need one, because there's always that thought in the back of my mind..."what if it all goes kaput?"

For whatever reason, one of the biggest challenges I have is assigning stories to certain people.  Whether it's deciding which reporter to send on a particular story or which MJ I feel can write and edit certain stories the most efficiently, I always seem to lock up whenever I have to pick someone to do something.  (Sometimes having too many people to choose from is a wonderful problem.)  There's a dangerous line between "act first, think later" and "think first, act later" and I seem to be doing neither.  Perhaps it's because of our relative lack of resources (especially in the latter half of the semester when people apparently start getting sick).  Maybe it's because I'm worried about someone's past work that didn't sit well with me from a previous week, or knowing that someone I really wanted to put on a particular story is working on something else.  Ultimately, it's a matter of putting all these worries aside and making the best judgment based on the circumstances.

Now that "something I remembered from last week."  When I was formatting the rundown, I was beginning to slot some packages and the live shot into the rundown, and I was already thinking about what to do if they don't make the show.  And Christen, my EP, said something interesting (paraphrased): "We format based on expecting the elements to come in as they are formatted, not formatting in case they don't."  It's simple--be an optimist.  Even when you're staring down the barrel and you think everything's about to go to pot, think positively.  Aikido master Morihei Ueshiba said "your spirit is your true shield."  And it's completely true in the newsroom.

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