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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Producers

Know Your Newscast

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After the second week of live shows, I think it's fair to say the producers are getting the hang of how their days work and the quirks that come with each day's schedule. I know for the Thursday team it has meant getting used to a short and rushed morning meeting before two-thirds of the producing team has to go to class for about three hours.

The morning meeting sets the foundation for the newscast. It is the launching point for stories to develop and sets up the framework, or what you could consider the bones, of the show. All of the elements for each story are proposed and lined up: "chunky" stories turn into packages, old or stale stories are killed, and interviews and b-roll the producers would like to include are scheduled to be shot.

For a story to be truly successful, for our purposes, having a local element always makes it more appealing. The content we shoot ourselves is always more compelling to our audience since we are a local news station first and foremost. The people we talk to in our community and our school are more appealing to see than someone or something far away. This kind of content can be produced too with national and international stories since we can usually always localize a story due to our vastly diverse university and local community.

In addition to having a local element-- or even if we can't get a local element-- the more visual a story the better. Video is what sets broadcast news apart from other types of news media and the more effective visuals we provide our audience with the more successful the story can be considered.

As lead producer this week it was my job to ensure that these types of visual stories made it into the broadcast. Part of that process is pitching stories that are relevant but which also mostly have the potential to have some sort of visual component. As the day moved forward, especially when my video teammate Theresa was in class, I had to constantly keep a running list of what video existed and also had to manage what video we needed shot and what interviews needed to be scheduled.

Luckily I have strong reporters and MJs who follow direction well and take the initiative on every assignment. I'm especially thankful for Tiffany Taylor, our lovely 402 reporter, who trekked all the way out to San Bernardino and made it back in time for her package to make it into our lead slot.

I realized this week that as our MJs have grown more comfortable in their positions I could rely on them more to multi-task. This was especially true with several of our MJs who shot for two stories while out in the field and who produced almost double the amount of content that they did last week.

Overall, despite the terrifyingly short morning meeting, simply staying on top of developing stories and being aware of all of the elements in the show helped me stay organized. That, plus a fantastic hard-working team, resulted in a successful, complete newscast that we all can be proud of.

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