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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Packages Can Really Perk Up The Morning Meeting

    You know it’s going to be a good day when all your reporters tell you they want to package during your morning meeting (granted it’s also going to be a hectic day, but working in TV news is always hectic).

    Monday was a great news day filled with local, national and international stories that have been trending on the web and on the wires. As a result, our board we use to write down potential story ideas for the newscast filled up rather quickly, but what surprised me was how many of our stories were assigned reporters.

    In total, we had seven reporters packaging that day and it was such a blessing for them to be enthusiastic, driving 20 (or more) miles away to report on the story. It was even better when many of them were able to get good sound bites or profile interesting characters.

    (My favorite story celebrated my local bookstore's 120th anniversary, but only because I go there all the time!)

    Being in the position of graphics and web producer this week I was spared the stress the video teammate goes through, worrying when all seven of our reporters would return to the newsroom to write and edit their packages. Thankfully, Christina, the acting video teammate this week, made sure that the reporters that came back to edit late were in good shape as we neared our air time. As usual, Fork, our editing system, caused us all to hold our breaths as we watched our second package load into the channel. Through optimism, a great team and modern technology, the package made it minutes before it was to be played.

    Working in a team has its true benefits as well as its fair share of learning lessons. During the post-broadcast meeting Hannah, our lead producer, was asked why there were so many packages. Some of us from team Monday felt that the excess of packages better suited a longer form news show, but Hannah had a great reason for her decision as well. She wanted to allow our reporters the opportunity to improve the skills they have been developing throughout the semester.

    Although I would not have ran all seven packages, I admire and fully understand Hannah’s point. A majority of our reporters had no experience working with ATVN until this semester and to see their improvement through what they did is encouraging.

    That being said, producers should not be the only ones leaving the morning meeting with a sense of encouragement. My hope is that every person in the morning meeting leaves with that feeling. Through positive reinforcement and more considerations for story pitches, I believe participation in the morning meeting will increase significantly. Terrible acoustics aside, simple questions like what the reporter’s vision is or asking for input from people that haven’t spoken up can go a long way.

    As cliché as it sounds, a producer’s show is nothing without its faithful and hard-working cast. In this case, that cast is, not only our reporters, but multimedia and web journalists and assignment desk editors. And it is in the morning meeting where it all begins.

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