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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Three, Two, One... And We're Live!

I have so much respect for reporters and anchors who do live shots every day for their job. Being in front of a camera terrifies me, especially when I know every word and move I make is being broadcasted LIVE out to large audiences. But even though live shots scare me, I think they are one of the most exciting and important parts of a newscast. 

I had my first live shot experience when I was a multimedia journalist my freshman year at USC. Luckily, I was a live shot operator and got to avoid my stage fright behind the camera. The main thing I remember is hearing John, one of ATVN’s advisors, give me a countdown over the phone before the live shot. It all happened so fast, and in three, two, one… we were broadcasting live. The biggest adrenaline rush came over me; we were communicating with the control room and our audience, showing everyone what was happening in real-time. It became clear to me how effective and powerful live shots can be; they instantly provide your audience with a raw, inside look.

However, I believe live shots are only effective when they are demonstrative and visual. For example, live shots seem to be the most successful when reporters point out their surroundings instead of just standing in front of a building and providing facts. Being live gives reporters the opportunity to connect with an audience on a whole new level, so I think it is very important to use live shots to their fullest potential. 

In today’s 1 p.m. ATVN broadcast, we were doing a story about citations LAPD gives to pedestrians who step onto a crosswalk after the red hand starts to blink. I wanted to incorporate a live shot of our reporter in front of a crosswalk where some students have received many of these citations. Unfortunately, we did not have a trained live shot operator that early in the day, so we were unable to go forward with the shot. If we were able to do the shot, I believe it would have been effective because we were planning to have the reporter demonstrate the rules that LAPD expects pedestrians to follow. 

Going forward, I hope we can train more live shot operators so we can use more live shots in our newscast. Live shots are effective tools, and I think it would take our show one step further. 

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