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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Producers

Newbies, Just Stay Balanced.

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Dear Future J403 Producers,

You might be feeling a little overwhelmed heading into a semester of producing at ATVN. But never fear! You'll be able to conquer this semester if you just learn how to balance the extremes.  

Be patient with your staff, but also push them to that next level. 

In the morning, you have an idea what you want each story to look like visually. But in the end, it is up to your MJs and reporters to execute it. At the beginning of the semester, many MJs might not know how to cut a tease correctly or how to create a flash frame. Be patient and help them out. But once the semester gets going and your staff gets comfortable, don't be afraid to give them tips or suggestions to help perfect their craft. Talk to your reporter about what kind of elements you want to see in a stand-up tease. Explain to your MJ how you want shots to be framed. By pushing your staff just a little more, you can take your show to the next level. 

Overly communicate with your teammates, but also take some time for yourself. 

The way in which you communicate with your teammates greatly impacts the quality of your newscast and the overall feeling in the newsroom. Throughout the day, as the lead producer, you need to be in constant communication with the video teammate to know what type of footage you are receiving from the field and from CNN. You and the graphics producer must be in constant contact about graphics and fullscreens. But even with all of this communication, it is also really important to take a few minutes out of your day in silence and go over the rundown. Ask yourself if a story is being executed the way that you want it to be. Review the rundown. Does it seem to flow? Because at the end of the day, it is your show. 

Challenge yourself, but don't be too critical. 

Come into the newsroom each week wanting to try something new. Question how can you make reading the news even more interesting for your audience. Should you put your weather or sports anchor at the ChromaKey during the "A" block?  Are you going to integrate social media in the show somehow? But, remember: once a show is over, it is over. You can't change anything. You just need to take your mistakes and work to fix it next week. 

Trust me, this semester is going to be one of the best experiences that you will ever have at USC. Waking up around 5:30 a.m. once a week might not sound so amazing right now. But in the end, the lessons you will learn will be completely worth it. 

Just make sure you do it with a little balance. 

Good luck & Fight On!

-- Layne 

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