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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Make It or Break It Meetings

It's 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, and there's an empty rundown just waiting to be filled. But first, my fellow producers, MJ's, assignment desk editors and I must meet with the reporters from Neon Tommy and Annenberg Radio News to share our story ideas and work together to make it an exciting news day. We've got one chance to shape our newscast; are we going to make it, or break it?

The morning meeting is our time to throw everything on the table– or white board– and develop the stories we chose to pursue. We list the slugs, the sound we hope for, and the visuals we expect to see. It's basically our road map for the remainder of the day, so it's wise of us to plan properly.

As of this semester, Neon Tommy and Annenberg Radio News have joined the morning meetings, in an effort to collaborate and sync our content. I have found this to be helpful because more people equals more brains, which equals more ideas. Additionally, now that we are all sitting in one room, pitching ideas together, we are all on the same page and pursue most of the same stories. Since we are working together, we only need to send a person from one of the media outlets to cover the story for all of them. For example, on Wednesday we sent an Annenberg Radio News student with a camera to an event, which was helpful because it saved us one person that we could send elsewhere.

Within the last couple of weeks, people have definitely become more comfortable speaking up during the morning meeting to share their pitches. I am always happy to see assignment desk editors and MJ's giving a story idea, because it makes them feel more involved and connected with the newscast. But you can never have too many ideas in the morning, so perhaps it would help to require everyone to come prepared to pitch one story. Maybe it shouldn't be as elaborate as the producer's story pitches, but a quick, thought-out idea could really benefit the meeting, and ultimately, the show. 

Even I know I could step it up myself in the morning meetings. I have found that I let others speak over me sometimes, so I have to make an effort to make sure my ideas are heard. Realistically, we're all tired in the morning, and it can be hard to muster up the energy to really make sure everyone hears you. But like I said, this meeting determines how smoothly the rest of the day goes, so I must make sure it's a productive meeting.

After all, we are trying to make it.

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