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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Keep Calm and Carry On


Dear future producers,

Disclaimer: Please excuse me if I sound sappy (and even a bit overdramatic). In the wake of my final newscast as a producer for ATVN, I cannot help but be brimming with nostalgia.

Brace yourselves – you are about to embark on one of the most exciting and rewarding journeys of your college career. It’s not always going to be easy. In fact, JOUR 403 will be demanding, frustrating, and exhausting. I’m not trying to scare you. I’m just trying to give you a realistic idea of what the next ten weeks have in store. This class is supposed to be difficult, as it is meant to introduce you to what it means to be a producer in the professional, real-life world of journalism. In the end, if you can survive this course, you will emerge stronger and increasingly more prepared to enter this fiercely competitive field. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

1) Starbucks is your friend: It is absolutely imperative to maintain a positive spirit and a lively energy in the newsroom. Never forget: You are the backbone of the newsroom. As a result, you set the tone throughout the day, which means that you must remain upbeat, cool, calm, and collected (no matter what!).
2) Love the playing field: You will be able to think of a million reasons why you don’t want to get out of bed on the mornings of your day-of-air producing shifts. However, if you learn to embrace and appreciate what it means to be a producer, it will make it a lot easier when you feel like giving up. Enjoy the chaotic nature of the newsroom. Thrive off of the uncertainty of news coverage. Lastly, bond with your teammates – trust me, you will miss them when it’s over!
3) Believe in yourself: You are the leader of the newsroom. However, in order for others to follow your direction, you must exude an air of confidence.
4) Learn from your mistakes: This is a class. You are there to learn. Needless to say, you are bound to make mistakes (probably a lot of them). Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. Strive for perfection, but don’t agonize over little mistakes. Recognize what went wrong and move on.
5) Ask a lot of questions: Having an inherent sense of curiosity is key to being a truly successful producer.


Jackie Giordano

P.S. Good luck!

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