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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Producing a Dynamic Newscast

Team Wednesday has had the opportunity to feature three different live studio guests in our newscasts so far this semester. I've really enjoyed their contributions and think it adds a lot to the show and makes the newscast much more dynamic and engaging. Our very first live guest was able to add context and more information about eating disorders and body image on campus, which was very relevant to our audience. Our second guest, my personal favorite, was the USC Marching Band, which had just been named the top band in the country. We covered the story pretty in depth in our newscast, but I don't think there is any better way to showcase the Trojan Marching Band than by having members of the drum line play live music during our show. We also had a brief live interview with two of the band members during the show, which was also neat because our viewers got to hear about their experiences and involvement with the band. This week we had our most interesting in-studio guest, a 'sexologist' to provide insight into Harvard's Sex Week and share his thoughts on how that type of event can help educate college students. In my opinion, it was a bold topic, but I think our anchor did a great job facilitating the discussion and keeping the conversation both professional and informative. These live interviews on the couch provide an opportunity to show off more of the studio than simply the desk and also incorporate the jib camera, which is something very few news studios have access to. It's also great to have the monitors behind the couch that we can put relevant graphics in during these segments. The next thing I would like to try is putting some video into the monitors behind the couch if we have another segment on the couch. 

Team Wednesday also had our sports anchor go live from the Media Center a few weeks ago during the World Series. I thought it worked out really well to have the game on the huge monitor behind him while he was talking about the game and providing a score update. If there is ever another big sporting event or even an entertainment event or award show happening during the show, I think that is a great way to make the newscast more exciting and relevant by having our sports anchor or buzz anchor live in front of the big screen. 

The next live aspect I want to incorporate into our newscasts on Wednesdays is to have a reporter live shot. For example, it would have been neat to have a reporter live in Hollywood this week to cover the protests against police brutality that were happening later in the day. Of course, it doesn't make sense to have someone go live out in the field, simply just to have a live shot, but if a story lends itself to having a reporter go live during our show, that is something I would love to include. This week we also had one of our reporters do a ride-a-long with a female firefighter, and I would have loved for her to have shot a mock live tease for the top of the show, but unfortunately after playing phone tag back and forth, she had already left the station when I spoke with her about it. Next time, I will try and communicate that with the reporter before they leave the newsroom in the morning. 

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