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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

We Can Do It!

    Going through my usual internet news sources is easy when the happenings of the past weekend that qualify as “news” are abundant. Preparing for my morning meeting and having to think of stories that the typical college student will find interesting enough to watch the newscast for is more difficult.

    Producing a typical TV newscast for a college campus is, in my opinion, more difficult than doing so for one of the big names in news, such as CBS or ABC. The college students of my generation live in instant gratification. Want to watch New Girl two days after it aired? TV streaming sites have you covered. Want to order your soy mocha latte before you get to Starbucks? There’s an app for that. It’s the instantaneous satisfaction we have to appeal to.

    So how do I appeal to the interests of 18-25 year olds with only a 30-minute time frame and about four different news segments? My resolution: to choose a few stories that are relevant to my viewers and report them well. 

    The A block is where most of the heavy news lies, but the fact that it is only about 10-12 minutes long means having to cut many of those heavy news stories short.

    Yes, I feel discouraged when I hear an MJ just got a great interview for a college story that is only allotted 35 seconds and I am crushed when that story is floated. Then, I watch the flurry of short stories that are in the A block and I regret ever killing that piece because it was replaced with two others that weren’t as relevant. What could have been a well, flushed-out one minute college story was replaced with two short SOTVO’s of international, but less relevant stories.

    The recurring theme for the past couple weeks has been to focus on stories that have meaning and relevance. That’s what I want. I want to present a newscast that speaks directly to the concerns of students with stories that go beyond merely reporting the facts. I want an A block composed of a few choice stories that provides viewers with the depth of new information.

    If college students want relevant, they’ll get it. A food recall is only meaningful if you talk about the effects it will have on campus. A medical study only sparks a student’s interest when they hear about it from their professor. Bringing stories home and connecting them to our student body is crucial.

    ATVN is fortunate to have a new studio with capabilities many other news studios could only dream of. I think it’s time to start utilizing that. Maybe it was just the ATVN veterans drilling this idea into my head or maybe it was dissatisfaction and a yearning for a deeper understanding of stories that made me realize this. Regardless, I owe my increasing drive to provide better newscasts to ATVN.

    Aside from the passionate and fearless truth-seekers, everyone from the faculty supervisors to the assignment desk editors, the high-tech newsroom is inspirational in itself. A wide open media center invites its users to collaborate and the new camera equipment calls guests to be interviewed in the new space. I would love to be able to invite an expert to sit down and do an on-camera interview live or have a reporter do a live shot for an event that starts in the middle of our show.

    The sky’s the limit in terms of our 30-minute show’s potential and I hope that by helping it reach a higher level that my personal potential improves as well.

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