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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

The "Cool Factor"

Live guests in the newscast add an extra element that helps to differentiate a show and display the versatility of the news team. I have incorporated a live guest in all of the shows on which I have been the Lead Producer because it is a way to disrupt the normal news flow that can become redundant. Talking about the live guests in the teases is a great way to draw in the viewer and keep that viewer interested throughout the entire segment.

Live Q&A sessions are also simply fun. They show viewers the personalities of the anchors in a more casual setting. This gives the viewers a greater appreciation of who their anchor is.

Stories that can incorporate some type of expert analysis are good to do live in the studio as long as that expert is not boring and can add information to the story that the viewer would find interesting. Subjects that are generally hard to understand, like court cases, can be good topics to cover live in the newsroom because an expert can talk about them in a colloquial way.

It is a good idea to have a reporter present his/her story in the studio or the media center when it is an in-depth package or it is the type of story in which viewers are likely to be very interested. Sometimes it is nice to see the person that is doing the reporting in more length than just a few seconds in his/her stand up.

It is also worth noting that you should only have a live guest if it adds something valuable to the newscast. That is, it can be distracting if the live guest is in the studio just for the sake of having a live guest in the newscast.

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