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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

In The Middle


When I watched some of the seniors walk out of the newsroom and studio for the last time today, it really struck me how fast the time is going by. It wasn't so long ago that I was sitting at the assignment desk, hoping that someday I would know as much as the producers across the room. I know it's kind of cliche to end on a quote, but I think that it sums up the advice that I would give to an incoming Jour 403 class. 

"Take each day and make it last, because you turn around and the future is the past. Here and now is all we have; the beginning and the end mean so little, what matters most is what's in the middle."

I would suggest to incoming 403'ers to focus on the present as much as possible when they're sitting in the producer chair. At the beginning of the semester I wasted a lot of time worrying about the start and the destination.  I kicked myself for having picked the "wrong" packages in my morning story lists, when maybe one out of the three would make it into the show. What I finally realized though, was that no story would be the same from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - journalism, like anything, is about the journey you take to get to the live show. And even when the show is airing, STILL things can change. You can't predict the news, but what you can do is stay on top of updates and provide yourself with "plan B's." 

My second piece of advice is regarding the way future 403 producers treat their news team. Being friendly just to people at the beginning of the day or acknowledging each other's work at the post mortem isn't enough.  Reinforcement and critiques have to happen throughout the day in order to help everyone grow as journalists.  Taking a moment to point out something  impressive or to give a suggestion for improvement means a lot more than a note in an emailed critique.  As producers we're leaders of the newsroom, and it's our responsibility to teach and be role models to up and coming producers as well. I'll always be thankful to the seniors who went out of their way to give me guidance - Eleni, Lauren and Elyse have been incredibly supportive of me, and I'll miss them so much!

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