A good producer knows how to write an interesting story and edit a compelling video. But if you ask me what is the most important skill that a news producer should have, I would say time management.
News producers have multiple tasks to complete within a day before the show starts at 6p.m. Reporters and multimedia journalists (MJs) generally finish covering their stories and return to the newsroom at around 1 or 2 p.m., when the newsroom gradually becomes busy. Besides that, each producer also has to complete his or her day-of-air assignment for JOUR-403, whether it's writing the script for a story or creating a digital video for the Web. Therefore, finishing each task at a self-imposed deadline requires good time management skills.
And this is a goal that I would like to focus on for myself and for my producing team.
Time management is a crucial skill for the lead producer to have, since he or she takes on the responsibility of creating the rundown, keeping track of the news updates and writing the teases for the show. With so many responsibilities to complete, the lead producer should always start writing the day-of-air assignment before 3 or 4 p.m. This would help save time to write the scripts for the Preshows and the teases. During the day, the executive producer, the video and graphics teammates, and our professor and advisor will constantly check with the lead producer for updates, so he or she has to manage time properly.
As the majority of the reporters and morning MJs return with their stories at around noon or early afternoon, the video producer has to start assigning the afternoon MJs to work on the scripts and videos. Time management is important here because the video producer's job gets busier as it gets closer to the airing time, so it is wise to order the CNN videos that the lead producer plans to use and to write the day-of-air assignment for JOUR-403 early in the day. The video teammate has to handle time appropriately so that all the scripts and videos are assigned and finished before he or she goes into the control room at 5 p.m.
Digital and Graphics Producer:
Unlike the lead and video producers, the digital and graphics producer has to finish a digital video as his or her day-of-air assignment. The graphics job doesn't kick in until 1 p.m., when our Graphic Artist Lisa arrives. So to have the graphics ordered on time, it is important to finish the digital video before 1p.m. This is the biggest goal I would like to work on so that I won't be scrambling at the end of the day to order graphics and to put in graphic placeholders.
I believe that time management is crucial for all producers in maximizing the efficiency and productivity of the newscast, making the day-of-air experience more meaningful for viewers and the news team.