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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Murphy’s Law in the Newsroom


Previously, I only thought that a back-up plan was only ever needed when we were planning a live shot or if a package was running late. One or the other. But I never kept in mind the possibility that I would need multiple back-ups for multiple elements. In this weeks show, I originally had two live shots in my rundown with back up scripts in case of technical failure. What I failed to write was a back-up welcome in case the live shot never connected in the first place. In addition to that was breaking news minutes before the show went live. When my live shot failed to come through, I was left scrambling for a new welcome as well as a two minute hole in my newscast. This is where back-up scripts come into play. Unfortunately the flow of the newscast was a bit choppy when dealing with both elements as well as with the breaking news. All in all, what the day came down to was trying new elements and dealing with the consequences appropriately when the elements fail. While this experience prepared me for Murphy's Law in the booth, this also left me slightly traumatized in trying exciting new things.

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