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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Time to Dig a Little Deeper


I am so excited to be the Lead Producer next week, because I am ready for our news team to take reporting to the next level through more in-depth coverage. I was inspired to tackle more hard-hitting issues after Diane Sawyer spoke to us at our morning editorial meeting last week.

My favorite moment was when Sawyer explained that journalists have a powerful, social responsibility. She said, "You are the single avenger of what you think is wrong in the world. There is no one but you to get done what you really care about."

Following Sawyer's advice, I look forward to improving our newscast by producing detailed and thoroughly developed segments about issues that are relevant to our audience. When reporting on a serious event, we typically allocate about one minute to the story. Instead, we should dedicate five minutes in the show to dig deeper into the issue. For example, if we choose to report on a sexual assault case, we could produce a live interview with a President of one of the USC organizations that speaks out against sexual assault, such as STAND. 

On this Monday's newscast, for instance, we interviewed Deputy Chief David Carlisle of the USC Department of Public Safety about the deadly stabbing that occurred West of campus this weekend. That could have been a great opportunity to dedicate a portion of our show to addressing safety issues around USC's campus. In Carlisle's sound bite, he said the stabbing was not between USC students and instead involved local gangs. With this information, we could have developed it further with a segment about gangs around USC. We could have also created an informative, animated graphic about the resources that USC students have to ensure their safety.

By focusing on the details, asking more questions, and developing stories that address communal concerns, our newscast will improve significantly. As Sawyer stated, we have the incredible honor of being an "avenger" to what we think is wrong in the world. Thus, it is our responsibility to serve the public by reporting the news in thorough, innovative ways.

Let's get to it!

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