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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Back Where I Belong


Producing this semester has been an adventure. I've learned lots about news judgement, editorial oversight, iNews, wire services – the list goes on.  

But if there's one thing about producing that has come naturally to me, it's the control room. 

For me, the control room is home. When I first realized that I had any sort of interest in journalism, I was in a control room. It was high school, I loved nerdy things like camera equipment and video switchers and I was working my first shift in our school's broadcast department. When I came to USC and ATVN, I didn't start in the newsroom; I started as a teleprompter operator, in the place where I felt the most comfortable.  

What has become obvious over the past six years I've spent in the control room, is the need for technical expertise on the production side of television news. If you know how the content you're making is going to travel from the camera out to the broadcast, you are invariably more prepared to produce the news.

This has proven to be true through this semester as well. By the time 5 o'clock (in reality, 5:30 or even 5:45) rolls around, my worries are over.  The show is what it is and there's little else I can do to improve upon what we have. Sure, I can add a few CGs, do some last minute copyediting, and get a chance to watch our packages for any video errors, but in large part the show is set in stone.

For some producers this may be the start of their most stressful time.  For me, it's an opportunity to watch one of the most spectacular team performances outside of athletic competition. Moreover, in the chaos of a news day, it can be difficult to put the news into perspective. Once I hit the control room, however, I get the chance to sit back, watch and connect the never-ending series of dots that make up a news landscape.  It's a refreshing, relaxing experience and I genuinely look forward to the control room.

Bottom line? I've got few complaints about working in the CR. Except maybe having to fight the urge to get in and direct myself. Sometimes I find myself reminding my eager brain to relax and follow the show that I've spent the day producing.  

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