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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

And We're Live

    The phrase “going live” can be very daunting, especially for a budding producer like myself. People may suggest stories which could be enhanced through live teases or live tosses, but when you’re the lead producer (which I was this week) the decision to go live is, ultimately, up to you.

    How I usually gauge that decision is through an appropriate mixture of excitement and optimism. If a story has a compelling enough angle that I’m both excited and optimistic about relating it to the lives and relevance of our viewership, I take it as a sign to go live.

    It’s also better to be ambitious in the amount of stories you think can have good live elements to them because chances are most of those live elements will not push through. [Most] things that can go wrong will go wrong- Murphy’s law has never rung so clearly than this past Monday.

    Monday was my last day as lead producer so I wanted to make that show the best I could possibly make it. I was so proud of my original rundown, which featured a reporter tease, a live guest interview and a couple more potential skype interviews. By the time 1:30 pm had come around, however, about half of what I had planned for the newscast was taken out.

    Despite the best efforts of ATVN’s wonderful multimedia journalists and assignment desk editors, we could not get a hold of any political expert to comment or talk to us about the propositions being voted on in the 2014 midterm elections. In addition to deciding the fate of a few propositions, the elections featured the race for governor as well as for other local leaders. Additionally, the great line-up of interviews I had in mind for multiple stories were either not done or done too late.

    I was already a bit heartbroken when I had to float my live interview. When I went into the control room in the last thirty minutes before air and found out I was about a minute over, I was a full-blown mess. In my A block alone I had a to switch the order of my lead story and float another altogether.

    The reason my lead story wasn’t my lead story was more of a technical mishap, but it still saddened me to know my newscast was that much further away from what I had envisioned it to be at the beginning of the day. There were at least two more stories I ended up floating, but I won’t go into the boring details for now.

    The whole day I felt I was holding my breath, especially during the live newscast, and it was not until the ‘goodbye’ that I exhaled my anxiety.

    Yes, it was a stressful day, but would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Much like a dancer performing a piece that has been rehearsed for months, the feeling of getting to showcase your hard work to an audience is incomparable. Producing a live show is hectic and unpredictable, but just knowing that what you decided on is being distributed to potentially hundreds at that very moment is priceless.

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