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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Strengths and Weaknesses

    As I’m sure those of you who have been keeping up with my blog series have noticed, working in the ATVN media center is very similar to working at a real, local newsroom. Having visited the ABC 7 and NBC 4 newsroom’s in the past, the equipment, the work and certainly the stress level has become a phenomena I have come to experience myself.

    The one big difference I noticed in the comparison between ATVN and an actual nightly newscast was content. Watching the NBC 5 p.m newscast, I expected that much, considering a local broadcast’s demographics caters to south L.A County and that ATVN’s is mostly composed of students, but it was a great lesson as to what I could accomplish in the future.

    NBC’s lead story of the 5:30 p.m half of the hour-long 5-6 p.m newscast was on current protests and marches in connection to the Ferguson verdict.

    Unlike NBC, a national news corporation supplying their local affiliates with funds for news choppers and multiple cameras with which can live-stream footage, USC’s ATVN is not fortunate enough to have too many live segments. Rather, we focuses on producing complete stories that occur before our 6 p.m show.

    I could only dream of doing such live shots and stories in the field during the actual newscast, but just watching the live stories on my TV and actively thinking about how I would execute them was a great nod to what I have learned and accustomed to in my time as a Monday producer.

    On the contrary, I found that the strength of having those news choppers and live stories were also the broadcast’s weakness. A hiker in Griffith Park had gotten herself trapped on a cliff Wednesday night and the NBC broadcast at 5 p.m had been cutting to the story every so often to update viewers on her situation.

    With the mix of Thanksgiving and Ferguson-centered stories, I found it awkward and annoying to change topic so much and get another update on the hiker. I will admit that it was very rewarding watching the actual rescue by the LAFD unfold, but, all in all, I would have rather not seen so many of the 30-second updates peppered throughout the show.

    Learning to construct a newscast out of scratch has been an unforgiving, but extremely fruitful experience and I would not trade it for the world. Watching the news at home will never be the same.

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