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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Goodbye Producing, Hello (Almost) Real World

I can’t believe my time as an ATVN producer has ended. The semester brought laughter, tears and a whole lot of learning. I’ll leave my position with a bit of advice for future ATVN producers.

1.       Befriend your MJs: With the changing media center, journalism students can now choose how they contribute. Coming to ATVN not only counts towards their grades, but also is a choice they make. Take time to remember little things about your MJs – not just their names. Giving people work they actually enjoy will motivate your team to produce the best possible work. If someone loves reporting in the field, send them out!

2.       Don’t let your job title define you: Yes, you need to do your assigned tasks for whatever producer role you’re in, but the work is never finished (until 6:30 p.m.). If you see something needs to be done, jump in and help. If you’re graphics producer and you notice MJs need help writing or editing, take a few minutes to teach them. If you’re web producer and you notice the welcome and teases aren’t written yet, ask your lead producer how you can help. While you shouldn’t have to entirely carry your team’s weight, it’s important to help each other out.

3.       Plan ahead of time: While you probably will have to wait until the morning of your shift to find pitches and story ideas, it’s a good idea to look at the budget the night before and see if there’s anything worth a reporter covering. Pitching a story for an event that starts at 8 a.m. in the 8:15 a.m. meeting won’t do you any good.

4.       Check in with your reporters and MJs: When your journalists are in the field, it is important to know what information, including sound and video, your reporters have gotten. Make sure you’re especially informed before you start your 1 p.m. meeting with Stacy – she’ll ask!

5.       If you don’t know how to do something, learn: If you can’t answer questions, people will stop asking you questions. If you don’t know how to do something the first time someone asks, learn. Producers are in charge, and people in the media center look up to you. It’s important to know more than the basics and to be able to teach younger students the ropes (think back on who taught you your ATVN skills).

Producing is a wild ride, but it’s worth every second. Communication and hard work, as well as some snacks, will make your newscast stellar. Looking back, I wish I had gained more technical knowledge before becoming a producer. I look forward to my last semester in the media center, and I hope to contribute my best work before heading out into the real world.


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