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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

MJs Make the Show


Multimedia journalists are the lifeblood of ATVN. They do the brunt of the work without getting much of the glory. I remember how difficult it can be to write, shoot and edit a story in only four hours. Being an MJ is tough, but it is also one of the best learning experiences you can get if you want to work in television news. If you want to be Tuesday's MVP as an MJ, then there are a few qualities that will make you stand out.

The best MJs are the most curious. They come into their shifts asking if we are covering certain stories and wondering what other elements we could pursue to make it even better. It is also immensely helpful if MJs come in with story ideas to pitch, particularly in the morning. Please don't be afraid to speak up if you have an idea. If you bring an idea to the table we can have the entire team look for ways to expand the story. There have been several instances when we've incorporated ideas pitched by MJs and assignment editors into the show. 

Even if you don't pitch a story, speak up if you see a story in the rundown that you want to cover. Star MJs will see something interesting and tell the producers so we can assign them the story. We try to give people different types of stories to cover, from campus and local to national and international. If you are passionate about something we want you to cover it. I think the best work is done when the journalist is passionate or at least interested in the story. 

The best MJs are also focused. Four hours is not a long time but it is certainly possible to complete a story. The best MJs can finish two or three in that time because they are focused on the task at hand. It's one thing to look at your phone or answer a text but another to spend half of your shift on Facebook. Being focused on the show ensures that the stories are done quickly and accurately. Even if you aren't a natural whiz at editing or a quick writer you can improve every week by really focusing during your shift.

Finally, if I could pick only one quality that every MJ would have it would be flexibility. The Media Center gets crowded and chaotic, particularly toward the end of the day. Sometimes Evan and I are being pulled in every direction to check a video or approve a script and we forget what we've assigned to each person. Thank you to all of the MJs who roll with the punches and keep reminding me that I was supposed to check their edits before I got distracted with something else. We really couldn't have a show without you.

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