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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Judgment Calls


The lead story is a key part of the newscast. This week, we began our show with a package about what to expect from the Vice Presidential debate. My producing team and I knew going into the morning meeting that this would be our lead story because it was the most topical story of the day. However, we had to be creative with our package because the debate aired at the same time as our show. It can be tricky crafting a package about something before it happens.

We brainstormed what our viewers would want to see and decided that input from Democratic and Republican leaders on campus was essential. We also sent our reporter to interview a debate expert and to the L.A. Campaign Headquarters.

During the morning meeting we were looking at a pretty light news day. We all agreed we needed to cover National Coming Out Day and the Endeavour’s final journey to the California Science Center.  It was supposed to be a rainy day so we originally planned on covering the storm. We even planned to lead with it, but when the weather stayed dry, we had to float the story. Lots of news broke later throughout the day that filled up our show. By 6 p.m. we didn’t have enough time to include all the stories we wanted to cover.

Being a college student definitely affects my decision where to place stories in the rundown.  I consider what stories my peers and I want to know about when deciding what news I think should be covered in the show. It also plays a role when it comes to deciding what stories to float when the rundown gets heavy.  Come show time, the producers have to make the best calls to make sure the most newsworthy news makes the cut.

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