I cannot emphasize enough how important multimedia journalists are to the day-to-day operation of the media center. They are the heart of the successful transition from separate news teams to one converged news organization. They help with writing web and broadcast stories, doing interviews for radio and TV, shooting footage for the newscast, editing voiceovers and sound bites, and using social media to keep the Annenberg audience engaged with our content as much as possible.
One thing I try to do when I am a video producer or working as an EP shadow is make sure I explain the angles of the story to the MJ on Trello as well as on their assignment memos. The assignment memos are not just tools for accountability, but they also provide a way for producers to clarify story elements to MJs before they try to tackle the story itself. Trello also allows producers to communicate with the MJs to stay updated with their progress. This is one area that does need improvement and I believe reminding them early on in the semester to update the Trello cards would help in the long term.
Another thing I have learned as a producer is to make sure the media center remains a learning environment. The MJs are there to absorb information and gain skills while also helping to build the broadcast. The producers are there, especially at the beginning of the semester, to teach the MJs how to use iNews, Adobe Premiere, and other software we use to make the newscast happen every day. It is really a case of meeting each other halfway. The producer can teach the skills, but the MJ has to learn how to utilize those skills so the producer does not have to repeatedly tell them what to do.
I feel the MJ experience is one where you get something out of it depending on how much you put into it. If you are an MJ who comes in engaged, ready to work, and willing to go get at least one story done within your required shift, then you are actively trying to build a good relationship with others in the media center. This can go a long way, especially if you are trying to build up your experience and get a leadership role in the media center in the future. It also helps if the MJs in the morning come with their own story ideas and are thinking critically about different angles to take a certain story. It is always nice to have another voice in the room taking a look at a story from a completely different perspective. It keeps our newscasts fresh and innovative.
For any future producers, thanking the MJs for finishing a story or complimenting them on a job well done helps foster a better environment in the media center. As a former MJ, it felt good knowing I contributed something to the newscast that was going on air at the end of the day. Now, as an executive producer shadow, I hope I can have the same impact on future MJs as they learn the skills needed to contribute in the media center.