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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California


Before I took J403, I did not get many words of encouragement from past producers: “You must get up at 4AM to watch the local news before coming to the Media Center for your shift.” “You will cry.” “You will be a slave to ATVN and not like producing.”

Because of these comments, I came into this semester not very optimistic about the class. However, after a few weeks of producing, I realized most of the things I heard about J403 were wrong.

Not only have I grown as a storyteller, but I have also made amazing friends that I wish I became closer with a little sooner. But with that said, J403 is not a breeze. This is one of the most time consuming and physically draining courses I have taken at USC. I definitely feel like I live at ATVN rather than the Lorenzo. But, this is why you need to take this class. It is by far one of the best classes I have taken at this school because it is the class that has taught me the most. I can take all of the tools I learned this semester and apply them to my future job.

To fellow journalism students deciding what classes to take: If you know you want to go into the news business, as a reporter, producer, etc, after graduation, it is a must that you take J403. Do not be intimidated by what you hear from past producers. And especially do not be intimidated by the breakdowns producers may have during a shift (screaming in the newsroom is completely normal and a way for us to vent when **** hits the fan). The lessons you learn in J403 will make you a much stronger journalist. Even if you want to report, take this class! I was very close-minded coming into this semester because I had no interest in producing after graduation. But, I am shocked how much learning how to produce helps me when I’m a reporter or anchor. Now when I cover stories, I think like a producer. I picture how a story will best be told on television and how to think of different angles to really dive into the news coverage. 

I am so thankful I pushed myself to take this class. However, there are some things I wish I did differently knowing what I know now. I think the first couple of weeks intimidated me to push myself all the way. During those first few shows, everyone is learning the ropes still. But, I was so proud of myself with how our rundown turned out on my last day as Lead Producer that I wish I got to produce more shows like that one. So, don’t be afraid to push the limit. You have a team of three other amazing producers that you can rely on for help if things become a challenge. The end result is so worth the extra craziness in the newsroom. Another thing I believe I could have done differently is being more patient. To future producers: you have to realize that some people who come into the newsroom are brand new to ATVN. You were in their shoes at one point. This organization is meant to teach people how local news coverage works. There is no good in getting frustrated with people who do not know how to do things right away. Take the time to be a mentor and a leader. MJs look up to you and will appreciate it when you take time out of your busy schedule to help them learn something new that day. 

J403 is quite a ride and I am sad that it’s over. But, I cannot wait to work with my new incoming producers next semester as an Executive Producer. Enjoy every minute and make art on air!!!

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