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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

The Future Is In Your Hands


Wow.  I can't believe our semester is over.  In no other class have I experienced so much growth in such a short period of time.  Like, radical change.  And although my teammates and I made a ton of progress in a few short months, I feel I could have adjusted more quickly if someone had told me these things:

Don't trust your memory!

There's literally a thousand-million things flying around the newsroom at any given moment that need your attention.  There's no way anyone can keep track of it all without having an organizational system.   I thought I was smart at the beginning of the semester by writing down little notes for myself so I wouldn't forget anything, but guess what?  I forgot about the little notes.  Those things get lost way too easily in the piles of papers that seem to form out of nowhere at ATVN.  To combat this I started categorizing my notes and putting them in places where I wouldn't miss them.  BitCentral videos got a google doc.  Information and interviews for reporter packages went on the back of my daily budget.  Assignments for writing and editing were in the notes column in our iNews application.  Pressers and statements got sent to my gmail account.  Everything in its place.  This worked for me, but there are countless other ways to organize your material.  Find one!

Producing teammates are the three best friends that anyone could have!  

Our very first show I feel that we all worried way too much about doing our own respective tasks.  We were so focused on covering our responsibilities that we never really communicated with each other.  Contrarily, you must be in constant contact with your other producers. Everyone should know everything about every story.  No one should ever be out of the loop.  That goes for every time a reporter calls back with an update from the field or anytime a relevant video comes up on BitCentral.  Bottom line:  you are a team and without acting like one, you'll never have a smooth show.

Happiness is a warm newsroom!

When a package is falling apart, an MJ forgot to turn their mic on for an interview, and wait, what's that?  BREAKING NEWS! happens, you might want to scream, punch a hole in a wall, or just run away.  Don't.  Take a deep breath, put on a smile and tackle everything with a positive attitude.  Remember, it always comes together in the end so there's no use in stressing out a ton and bringing down the morale of the newsroom.  You are the leader of the show and people look up to you.  If people see a panicking, or yelling producer things can deteriorate quickly.  No matter how you're feeling inside, you should appear calm and in control to the outside world.  Also, the people writing, shooting, editing and at the assignment desk are just as new to their jobs as you are.  Don't forget that!  Positive reinforcement works a lot better than getting mad at someone for his or her mistakes.  What I always do is compliment someone for their great work and point out everything they did on a story that worked well.  Then you can point out their mistakes and teach them how to improve.  You might have to do this a few times, but have faith in your journalists, they're smart and they'll improve.  

Now that I've imparted all my wisdom on you, you're going to be a perfect producer, right?  WRONG!  Check your ego at the door because you're going to need to work hard and stumble a few times before you succeed.  But don't be discouraged, this is a learning experience and believe me, you're going to learn a lot.  


Just a note: the correct name of the company which created the workflow you utilize is Bitcentral (not BitCentral). Thanks for the shout-out!

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