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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

You Can Do It


I can't believe it is already the end of the semester and yesterday was the last show I produced at ATVN. Looking back, it has been one big roller coaster ride. I started this semester off not knowing much about producing a newscast. Even though I have worked at ATVN as an MJ, Graphics Artist and an Assignment Desk Editor before, being a producer was a completely different experience. 

It might be a little overwhelming to be sitting in the producer's chair at first. However, it becomes easier as you start doing it. Here are some advice that will help you get started.

Watch the news. As a news producer, you have to know the news. You have to understand the story, think about the impact of the story and know the newest angle for your day of air. I have never paid much attention to the news before this semester. Initially, I only watched the news the night before my show but I realized that it is much easier to understand the news, especially ongoing news stories, if you check the news every day.

Communicate. The importance of communication in the newsroom cannot be stressed enough. It is crucial to communicate with everyone you work with throughout the day. It is better to tell someone the same thing twice rather than risk not telling them at all. Communicate with the producers so you are all on the same page and know the story angles, updates to the rundown and new elements that should be added to the stories. Communicate with the MJs before they go shoot their stories to make sure they understand what the story is about and what elements you want them to get. Also communicate with the MJs after they come back to see if there are any updates to the story and if they got any compelling elements that should be added to the stories. Communicate with the anchors to make sure they are familiar with the stories so it will be easier for them to read the stories on air. 

Ask. I was intimidated at the beginning of the semester. The other producers in the newsroom have all interned at different news stations before and I knew I did not have the same amount of experience that they had. This served as more of a reason for me to break out of my comfort zone and to ask when in doubt. 

Break out of your bubble. As the workload starts piling up when MJs, reporters and anchors return from their stories, it is easy to get trapped within your bubble and work with your computer. It is important to break out of that bubble and to talk to the people you are working with. Oftentimes, they can tell you the newest elements because they were at the scene. 

Take a deep breath. It gets stressful sometimes, especially if most of your MJs are still out shooting video and working on their stories in the afternoon. It is especially stressful if most of your stories are not online by 4 PM. This is the time to take a deep breath, delegate the work and conquer those stories that are still offline. It helps if you keep notes on which stories have already been assigned to MJs and any updates to the stories. 

It has been a great learning experience producing at ATVN. I take pride in knowing what I have tackled and accomplished throughout this semester. I look forward to watching next semester's newscasts to see what the new producers put on the show for us. Good luck!

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