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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Perfectly Imperfect


The voices of our anchors echoed on the television set behind me, as I frantically scrambled to finish writing and editing the video for a number of stories. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling to know that elements remain incomplete, especially after the newscast has begun. Nevertheless, my executive producer and I came together in the true spirit of teamwork to get everything on air in the nick of time.

During my producing shifts, ATVN always finds a way to test the limits of my capabilities. This week, I was challenged to work more efficiently than I ever thought possible. My inherent perfectionism comes as a dual-edged sword: while it drives me to only create material of the highest quality, it also hinders the speed with which I accomplish tasks. Yesterday, I spent a great deal of time ensuring that my individual responsibilities, as the graphics producer, were completed with the flawless excellence that I am constantly striving for. For instance, I thoroughly researched each story angle, so that my graphics were imaginative and accurate. I even took a few moments to communicate several of my more complex visions to the graphics designer. Once the graphics were done, I reviewed them for spelling mistakes, as well as inappropriate or redundant art. Furthermore, I was obsessive about attaining the best, most recent CNN videos. Throughout the day, I kept a running list of all the CNN footage that I had ordered, including detailed descriptions of the video and sound in each clip. Not to mention, I continually read and reread my required story for class. While I successfully finished my respective duties, I had failed to check in with the video teammate, Christine, to see how she was doing. As a result, I was not prepared when it was my turn to take over for her.

Even though I knew that there was a lot left to accomplish in very little time, I didn’t get emotional or discouraged; rather, I used the energy of the newsroom and the encouragement of my teammates to stop being perfect and to start getting things done! I was amazed at how quickly I was suddenly able to write. With this simple change of mindset, the words just flowed from my fingertips. I probably wrote three or four pieces faster than it had taken me to write my one JOUR 403 story. Of course, I was still putting a great deal of effort into generating superior content. There is nothing that I want more than to improve our newscasts from week to week, but I now realize that quality does not have to come at the expense of timeliness. After surviving another day of producing, I am filled with an undeniable sense of pride and passion. By consistently pushing me beyond my comfort zone, I truly believe that ATVN is helping to make me both smarter and tougher.

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