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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Owning Your Task


This week’s newscast was different. I tried to think of what was different because everything seemed better than our previous shows. When I got home, I realized that everyone in the newsroom “owned” one’s stories. Whatever stories they were assigned, multimedia journalists knew about their stories from beginning to the end and finished their task in a timely manner. 

There is a saying: “If everyone owns the task, no one owns the task.” Keeping that in mind as a video teammate, I tried not to assign each MJ too many stories. I tried to categorize the stories as much as I could (campus, local, national or international stories) and encouraged each MJ to own the task. I tried to explain the story in detail to each MJ by printing out the wire and suggesting some articles to read. 

From my own past experiences as an MJ, I know one can concentrate the most if one is actually interested in the subject. This week, every MJ owned his or her stories. Arash owned the L.A. Tourism story and got an awesome interview. Margaret focused on SCALE and came back with great natural sound. I thank them so much, and I am confident enough to say that I achieved my second goal, which was “to identify each MJ’s strengths and weaknesses.” Because the producers knew these characteristics, we were able to bring out the best in them. 

Producers should keep in mind that one works best when one is immersed in the subject. Rather than rerouting MJs to so many different things, we should make them own their news. This, plus our successful teamwork, will improve the quality of our newscast even more. 

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