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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

How to Successfully Take a Risk


A little bit of anxiety was my initial reaction when liveshots were introduced this semester. In terms of increasing the quality of my show, I was excited -- but in terms of logistics, I had no idea how to put them in the rundown, operate the streambox or cohesively include them with the rest of my stories.  But (as is always the case in broadcast news), with a significant amount of preparation and a little bit of practice, I successfully enacted my first liveshot two weeks ago -- even if it was just on the roof of the building from which we were broadcasting.

But, if there's one thing I've learned as a producer, it takes a lot more than you realize to make something go smoothly on air. Liveshots (just like the many different elements in a newscast) can easily go wrong. Whether they are lost at the last minute or altered right before your show goes on air, they are extremely unpredictable.  One of the most important things you can do to ensure that a faulty liveshot doesn't ruin the rest of your newscast is to make sure you always have a backup plan -- which was definitely relevant for me this week.

Yesterday, we figured out the streambox computer that makes the liveshot possible was broken -- and that the liveshot we had been planning for outside Occupy LA wasn't going to work.  Thank god it was the beginning of the day and we had ample time to change our big plans, but that just goes to show that you can never take for granted all the elements of a newscast.  

There are so many things that must come together to create that perfect show. Complicated elements like liveshots make your newscast much more interesting -- but also come with a little risk.


Hi Guys,

Your recent blogs have registered my Google Alerts and I've enjoyed reading about your progress through this semester. I've noticed lately a number of people talking about backup plans and I wanted to make sure that you guys had the chance to try Streambox Live. We've noticed that broadcasters around the world have been using this product as a supplement to their existing newsgathering workflow and when things go wrong they have been able to fall back on this service. I see that John Goldsmith has registered for an account and I just wanted to follow up and make sure you guys understand everything that is going on with the product. It can be very confusing and sometimes frustrating to work through the steps, but once you guys get it down I think it would be a great way for your team to capture news even though your 1st or 2nd options might have fallen through. Let me know if I can help and I'd be happy to set you guys up with a free demo plan to get things started.


Ryan Davis
Director of Marketing

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