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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Taking the Leap

Have you ever done something that completely terrifies you? Something that is out of your comfort zone, but you know will ultimately make you a better and stronger person?

As dramatic as it sounds, that is producing for me.

The first day of production class was so overwhelming, with all the things I felt I didn't know and had to learn. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up, that I wouldn't be able to be as helpful and on top of things as I had to be. I knew this was going to be a challenge for me, but I was ready to take the leap and jump right into learning as much as I could and becoming the best producer I could be.

Run-through week had several hiccups, which I think helped prepare us for the first official week of live newscasts. I went in nervous, but determined to take on all that the day threw our way. I have the most amazing Thursday team to work with, which makes things even better. I think the first live newscast went well, but I also feel it shed light on a few things the team can look to improve on throughout the semester.

As lead, it's hard when the two other producers, Caroline and Elisabeth (although this week we had the amazing Kaiti step in while Elisabeth was in New York for an interview...Elisabeth we missed you but Kaiti was so fun to work with!) go to class. It leaves the lead to handle any and all situations on her own. Luckily, we have an incredible EP, Rachel Scott, who was always ready to step in with advice or assistance. Communication was the biggest issue for us- the other producers were gone in class for a lot of the morning, so I couldn't really communicate with them on any questions I had or ideas I wanted to run by them. And Caroline, our awesome graphics producer for the first week, had the reporters call and text her with videos and pictures for social media, which was awesome! But they also ended up just telling her what information they had in regards to their stories, and that information had a hard time getting back to me. When it came time to show Stacy the rundown, I felt slightly out of the loop in terms of what elements each reporter had for their story. Going forward for the next time I’m lead, I want to make sure I call my reporters and talk to them personally about how their stories are going. 

We also had some last minute issues regarding getting stories in on time. There was a mad dash to have our leading packages in about five minutes before the show started! Luckily Caroline and Kaiti were so good about helping the reporters in the edit bay (and THANK YOU Tom and John for being amazing), but I know for next time to try and get stories and packages in earlier, or to check with reporters to see what I can do to help them get their stories in. 

Thankfully, we were able to get all the packages in, and the newscast went very smoothly! We have such wonderful anchors on Thursdays, which makes a producers job even easier. We also have an awesome crew who know exactly what they're doing, and were all able to stay calm during the panic of a potential lack of packages. 

Each week there will be difficulties. As a producers, we will grow each week. The mistakes we made this week won’t necessarily be the ones we make by week 4 or 5. But there is so much to learn, and with the amazing EP, producers, anchors, studio crew, reporters and volunteers, I know this semester will be an amazing one! I can't wait to see how the rest of the semester unfolds as we all take this leap into ATVN together!

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