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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

To Be Continued

To future ATVN producers: 

The producing process is hard. The first time you produce during run-through week you will have absolutely zero idea of what you are doing and will not realize how that goes into a 30-minute newscast. But no matter how difficult the process may get or the journey may seem, I promise that when you look back on your very last day, all of the work will be worth it. I have a few useful tips for you to know before starting the class. 

Know the News

As a starter, I will advise you to have a clear vision of what you want your newscast to be like. To achieve this, you will not only have to know the news, but also its smaller details and the most recent updates. Only when you have a comprehensive idea of the news can you really think about how to cover and present it in a compelling way. This requires you to watch local news, read theSkimm, and check the budget the night and morning before the morning meeting. Since we are a campus-based news outlet, it is also important to follow what is happening on campus to see how we can develop the big stories at USC. 

Keep Track of Time

It seems like producing days are long, but they go by very quickly. It is easy to get distracted by something and look up at the clock only to realize it’s been three hours and nothing is done. Therefore, it is essential to keep track of time and make sure you are constantly aware of what needs to be done. After week eight of producing, I started to leave notes of what I have not yet finished, and I set alarms on my phone as deadline reminders. With the help of iNews, notes and my phone, I have never failed to meet deadlines. 

Work with People 

Trust me when I say that communication is your best friend. It will save you a lot of stress and a lot of wasted time. As I said in the after-show meeting last night, ATVN is not a one-person newscast. We should help each other like a family. No one should be pigeon holed by his/her position. Today, our graphics producer was missing due to a flight conflict. Our web/social producer volunteered to take over her job and finished the 1 p.m. show and 6 p.m. show as smooth as it could be. We are all here to help one another and make our newscast be the best it can be every week. 

Practice your writing

It is really important for a producer to have good writing skills. To help improve your writing, I would suggest spending your spare time practicing mini writings. Specifically, you can pick stories from NBC Nightly News and write preshows and teases for them. You can also follow news outlets on social media, and read their tweets or Facebook posts to see how they approach online news consumers. 

Remember to Eat

Sometimes when the show is over you realize that you haven’t eaten for the whole day. Being tired and overwhelmed is a guaranteed side effect of being a producer, but you cannot let it control your mood or your day. My suggestion is to get some food and then keep going! We’re in college, and everyone is sleep-deprived or exhausted from something. It is your job to set an example and remain present throughout the day. 

Time flies when you’re having fun, on deadline and doing something you enjoy. I don’t see yesterday’s show as an end; instead I see it as a start. It has brought me to a new choice for my career and a new perspective of the industry. 


Monday Teammate

Jim Li

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