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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Reporter Communication


Reporter communication was a big part of my day yesterday, and I found good communication to be especially important because the reporters' stories kept changing. It started on Sunday night, when I called our reporter to ask her if she could come in early to cover the Bell hearing, which started at 9 and was a story we wanted to package. We talked the night before and the morning of the show about what might happen at the hearing, what kind of b-roll and sound she might want, and who she should talk to. I tried to be as specific as possible, and I think we both had a good feeling when she headed off to the courthouse, although I think both of us were slightly worried there may not be enough new material for a package, which we probably should have communicated more about because that ended up being the case. Fortunately we had prepared in the morning meeting for that possibility and quickly switched her over to a Valentine's Day Package. Here's where communication was essential: I called her to let her know the story had changed, texted her info about the story and emailed a wire. We then continued to talk on the phone throughout her reporting to discuss numbers and statistics she could include in her package.
Communication was also a big deal with our other reporter, but more so in the final hours before air, even in the final seconds before air. We were on the phone with the newsroom throughout the show asking what pieces of the story had been sent, how much percentage had been sent, how far along the video was, and we ended up having to float it out of the A block and move it down to B, as well as changing it from a package to a VSV. This is an instance where I should have communicated better. When I took a second to think about it, I realized she had driven to West Hollywood to get b-roll, and I didn't even know what she was getting b-roll of. I should have asked. I also realized her package would be completely one-sided if we didn't communicate about her getting the other side. I should have taken on that responsibility. All in all, I saw yesterday how important communication is and will work in the future to make it more of a focus on my producing days.

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