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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Reflecting on the semester


Producing this week was slightly bittersweet because it was my last show in the lead producer chair. It was the last time that I would be crafting the show, calling the shots, writing the teases and knowing that the product going on air at 6:00 was mine during my tenure at ATVN. So when 6:29:30 hit and we went off air first the last time with me sitting in the lead producer's chair, I thought about the semester and everything that I really enjoyed about this experience.

At first, the feeling of being in the driver's seat was scary. Really, really scary. Everyone is defaulting to you when it comes to a decision, because that's your job. I remember the first time I produced, I thought everything was fine going through the morning meeting, I had all my notes lined up and I was ready to put stuff into the rundown. Three hours later, I was so distracted by everyone asking me questions about bigger things, like what angle to take on a story, to smaller things, like what soundbite to use, that my rundown was still almost virtually empty. I panicked, and the rest of the day I felt like I was flying by seat of my pants the entire time. It was the rush that I was looking for--just a little more stressful than I had bargained for.

Now, that rush is still there, especially right before the clock hits 6:00:00, but the stress isn't quite as prevalent. Don't get me wrong, it's still there, but it feels more natural. And with the lessened amount of stress comes the ability to enjoy the job more. I got a finer appreciation for ordering stories and choosing a deliberate order. I loved picking and choosing the stories that I could tease and putting my own special touch on the newscast. I especially loved steering the newscast from start to finish in the control room, making sure that everything was on time, taking stories out of the newscast if I needed to, and talking to the anchors and reporters in their ear. I think the best part of it, though, was seeing everything come together at the end knowing I got to wake up the next day and do the same thing, but not necessarily in the same way. Having that flexibility in your job and not knowing what's going to happen the next day is exciting, it keeps you on your toes and it guarantees that you'll never have a dull day.

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