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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

It's Been a Great Ride

After an intense few months, my time working as a producer for ATVN came to an end on Monday evening with the conclusion of my final shift. It’s been a wonderful experience. The work has been tough, grueling even at times, but all the same, I’ve learned so much. As a graduate student, I was initially worried that I’d struggle in this class, that it would take me too long to get up to speed with my peers, who have all worked in the ATVN newsroom before. But even so, I decided to throw myself into the deep end anyway, such was my desire to learn what being a producer was all about. And so, do I have any regrets? None whatsoever. 

With my final shift done and dusted, now feels like the perfect time to reflect on the semester. There have, after all, been both highs and lows. Thankfully, though, more of the former rather than the latter. At the midway point of the semester, I identified three key issues that I felt were impacting on my ability to produce a solid newscast. As a foreigner (I’m from New Zealand), it quickly became apparent that I needed to bolster my knowledge of local politics and learn who the key movers and shakers in Los Angeles were. I also felt that my understanding of some of the fundamentals of iNews - a program we use to lay out the rundown of our newscast - was lacking. At that point, I didn’t really understand how to calculate simple things such as runs times or, for that matter, even how to add CG’s to a story. Finally, I was also concerned about the fact I found myself in such a rush during my shifts that I always sacrificed quality in the interests of simply getting the job done. 

As I reflect on the second half of the semester, I can’t help but feel proud of my development. After subscribing to the Los Angeles Times, I soon began to enhance my knowledge of local politics, making me a more effective team member during our morning news meetings. And after reading through ATVN’s broadcast handbook more times than I care to remember, the penny, as it were, finally dropped and the world of runs times and CG’s suddenly made sense. As for my quality conundrum, if I’m being totally honest, I never really nailed that. Undoubtedly, as the semester wore on, the quality of our newscast became more important to me. But still, there were occasions when I found myself approving videos that probably needed some work, all in the interests of getting the job done!

That said, it’s been a great semester and I feel all the better for my time spent in the ATVN newsroom.

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