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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Want to Produce? Here's What You Need to Know...

In looking back at my semester producing for ATVN, I feel so thankful to have had this amazing experience. I am honored to have led such a remarkable team and am grateful that I decided to embrace this opportunity. 

On my first day producing for ATVN, I was so nervous! I had no idea what to expect and felt afraid of making even the slightest mistake. As the semester progressed, I felt more confident with my decision-making and started to take more risks in trying new things! Although I think producing is something you must learn by doing, I want to provide the next team of producers with a few tips to help them along their journeys.

Christina's Producing Survival Guide:

1. Drink coffee. - If you don't already, drinking coffee might change your life! Take it from someone who woke up at 4:30 a.m. on each day-of-air to study the news! Fighting on through the 11-hour shift is always easier with a warm cup of caffeine by your side.

2. Take risks. - Dare to break away from the norm. It is easy to get comfortable with your favorite type of cold open or maybe you will find yourself loving one kind of pre-show. Change it up! Bring on a live guest! Put an anchor at the monitor! Dare to produce a complex show, and I promise you will love the end result.

3. Challenge your team. - One of my favorite quotes is, "Leaders do not create followers. They create more leaders." Please take this to heart. The best thing you can do as a producer is to inspire reporters, multimedia journalists and assignment editors to take initiative. After the first or second show, reporters might still ask you what angle you want for their packages. Take a moment to ask them what they believe would make a strong angle for the story and encourage them to pursue their own intuition! These subtle changes go a long way. They help your teammates grow as journalists and significantly strengthen the quality of the show.

4. Be eager to learn. - Go in with an open mind and you will be amazed by how much you will learn. Not only will you walk away with so many applicable skills for jobs in the industry, but you will also leave with stronger communication skills that I know will carry with you for years to come.
5. Have fun! - I guarantee that the more fun you have with this opportunity, the better it will be for you and your entire team! Think about how special it is that you have the power to produce a thirty minute newscast with the content you believe our viewers will care about most! Take advantage of that! Enjoy every minute of it. If there are technical problems, learn to laugh it off! When that hard-working MJ returns to the Media Center, give him or her a high five! Positive energy is contagious, so spread it to everyone around you! 

To future ATVN producers,  I hope your experience will be as special as mine was. I could not have predicted how much I would fall in love with producing the news, and I would not trade that feeling for the world. Fight on and check your copy! 

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