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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Dear Prospective Producers

Everything is always a little bit intimidating when it's brand new. I remember my very first ATVN shift, pressing a button for graphics during the live newscast. It seemed like the scariest, hardest challenge at first... kind of like producing did a few months ago. 

Yes, there were definitely days that seemed like an uphill battle. Waking up before the sun comes up and knowing how much work you have ahead of you can be a little daunting sometimes. But let me tell you, there is nothing more rewarding than leaving the media center after the show, knowing you poured your heart into it, and seeing your efforts come to life. 

There are so many things I have learned this semester, like how to lead a team, how to efficiently manage my time, how to determine what is newsworthy, and how to reshape a story for multiple platforms. There are a few things, however, I wish I would have realized sooner. 

1. Come to your day-of-air shift prepared!

Do as much research as you possibly can the night before, and try to set up any potential interviews. Know what's going on in the world, and have an idea of what you want your show to look like. That way, you can tell your reporters and MJs your vision, and they can feed off your concepts, rather than everyone starting from scratch. 

2. Take advantage of any practice you can get!

Looking back, I wish I had treated run-through week more like a dress rehearsal. Of course, we were all really new and the media center was a bit over whelming, but I feel like if I pretended that was the real first week, I would have been one step ahead for the remainder of the semester. 

3. Have a lot of patience!

People are going to be running to you constantly, asking you what to do next. Remember, they are probably just as new to their roles as you are, and to them, you know everything. Instead of getting frustrated, smile and tell them you appreciate their eagerness to work hard. Then take a deep breathe, and figure out how to utilize them to get stuff done.

4. Follow your leaders!

Stacy really knows what she's talking about, so listen to her starting day one. Take her advice and feedback to heart, because ultimately it will not only help your show, but it will help you grow as a journalist. Also, chances are your executive producer is pretty wise as well! I know I wouldn't have been able to make it through my lead producer days without Kate.

5. Become friends with your fellow producers!

It's much easier to work with a team that you get along with. Andrew, McKenna, and I vibed really well together, and I think that helped the flow of our shows. Don't forget to stop and joke around with each other every once and awhile, producing can be fun!

6. Bring snacks!!!

You will get hungry. And you will not have time to wait in the line at Seeds at noon.

And most importantly, soak up these valuable learning lessons! Overall, producing was way more constructive than I ever expected it to be. Shout out to Team Wednesday for an unforgettable semester, I hope to see you all around the media center next semester. Maybe some of you will be my producers instead!

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