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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Thinking Like a Team

On Monday I might have lied to my teammates, because my nametag read:

"Christina - Producer"

Yes, technically I was a producer on Monday, but I learned that a strong team cannot function if we limit ourselves to these specific labels. The truth is that I wore several hats on Monday, as did several of my teammates. True teamwork, in the context of creating an ATVN news show, requires us to balance our individual responsibilities with several other roles. 

Take my word for it. I had to think and act as the following positions: 

1. Christina the Reporter: In the morning meeting, I loved the energy of pitching fascinating national and international news stories. I was on a roll! I stood up beside our white board and loved passionately expressing my ideas. Then, I realized that several of these stories would be very difficult to shoot, especially since our reporters are eager to create and edit their own content. Thus, even in the morning meeting, I learned to think like a reporter. Next week, I will stop and ask myself these questions before I so eagerly open my mouth to pitch a story: Is there a strong, local angle that our reporter can focus on? What would they shoot? Would they realistically get a great, relevant interview?

2. Christina the Video Producer: In the early afternoon, I took a minute to check what was trending on Twitter. Intrigued by the trending hashtag #FloodWallStreet, I clicked on it. My jaw dropped. I could not believe the pictures that were being tweeted of aggressive demonstrators, who were protesting climate-change. I instantly thought about putting it in the broadcast, so I proposed the idea to our advisor Rebecca. She kindly reminded me that I would need to check CNN for videos of the protest in order to cover the story. My first lesson, wearing the hat of a video producer, was: Visuals! Visuals Visuals!

3. Christina the Lead Producer: I knew I wanted to pitch the protest story to Andrea, our "real" Lead Producer. I wanted the story to make the broadcast, but where would it go? How would it fit into the rundown? Imagining myself as the Lead, I looked through the rundown on INews and remembered that we were covering the International Climate Change Summit and a "proactive preschool" who practices energy efficiency on their property. Thinking like a Lead, after realizing that the breaking news would work well in our existing show, helped me sell the new addition to Andrea. 

There is so much more to learn, but I look forward to starting next week with something very clear in my mind. I am not just a producer. I am every member of my team. Together we will catch each other's mistakes, grow into the best we can be, and produce excellent news shows. 

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