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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

And We’re Live…


This week, for the first time, I truly felt like my teammates and I worked together in the sort of synergistic harmony that we had been seeking. “I think we’re finally starting to get the hang of this,” I said to myself, as I proudly admired our completed rundown (with plenty of time to spare). However, I may have spoken too soon. In the coming weeks, our producing responsibilities are going to get ever more complicated with the introduction of live shots.

Essentially, a live shot takes viewers straight to the scene of the action. Live shots enhance newscasts by imbuing them with a feeling of immediacy. That being said, live shots enable newscasts to compete with the Internet, which provides up-to-the-minute information throughout the day. In a world brimming with rapid technological advancements, the public increasingly demands to know what is happening now. Live shots add a sense of dimension to an otherwise traditional newscast, helping to make it both more current and interesting. Although live shots prove to be indelible tools in newscasts, they can be challenging for both the producer and reporter to properly execute. Live shots spur additional concerns regarding technology, formatting, timing, content – the list goes on. Most importantly, live shots absolutely require a backup plan (no matter what!) because live television is inherently unpredictable. Nevertheless, a live shot is key to taking a good newscast and making it great. Indeed, greatness is what my teammates and I are so desperately striving for.

Although my teammates and I have yet to carry out a live shot, I do believe that we are ready to begin experimenting with ways to further improve the quality of our show. This week my teammates and I came prepared with a story that lent itself to a strong live shot. While we were lacking the manpower necessary to bring our vision to life, we had hoped to have a reporter live at the 19-hour “Enroll-a-thon” for community members rushing to beat the March 31st  Covered California deadline. Such a live shot could have served as the perfect introduction to Emily’s package on the event. This story was ideal for a live shot because the healthcare sign-ups were still occurring at 6 p.m. As a result, our live shot would have been complete with compelling visuals and sound. Not to mention, the event was relatively close to campus, allowing for a strong Internet connection. Finally, the issue of the new healthcare law is timely, controversial, and impactful. In other words, it’s a topic that people are invested in and, therefore, care to learn more about.

Hopefully, next week, another unbeatable opportunity for a live shot will arise. As lead producer, I look forward to spearheading the completion of our first successful live shot. Wish me luck!

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