I'm writing this with my final show of the semester in the rearview mirror. It's really been a blur. Producing was something I originally chose solely as an alternative to reporting, but in hindsight I couldn't be happier with my choice.
Producing in the media center has been one of the most difficult things I've been tasked with in college and I mean that in a positive way. Not only do you get to develop new skills and learn how to put together a newscast, but you learn so many intangibles that go beyond just producing. You learn how to lead a large group of people, how to develop a closer attention to detail, how to plan for the best and the worst, and so much more. These are important skills that you can take with you into a journalism career or something entirely different.
Now with all this in mind, I'd like to address the next wave of producers who will be tackling Annenberg TV News and our other shows.
My first piece of advice is get ready to work hard and get pushed. Production shifts demand a plethora of thought and energy. Your work starts the night before pitching and discussing stories with the other producers, faculty and editors. Then you'll prepare a list of stories and possible packages to bring to the morning meeting the next day. Before that meeting you'll have a news quiz, so you have an extra incentive to constantly keep tabs on the news for more than just your day-of-air show. From there, your morning meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. and you work until the broadcast ends around 6:30 p.m.
So with the length of your upcoming shifts in mind, here are some pieces of advice. Given how long your day is, it's important to keep a positive and calm attitude. As a producer, it's your show and everyone feeds off of your energy. So while it's important to push your MJs and teammates to get their work done well and efficiently, make sure you are providing feedback, thanking people for their contributions, and making the media center a fun environment. It goes a long way for MJs to be thanked for their work and we can't put together our shows without them. As you'll learn, everyone has an important role to play.
Alongside keeping morale high, it's crucial to communicate well. As the day goes on there are too many things to keep track of and you can't do everything yourself. Get in the habit of paying close attention to details and always checking in with your reporters and fellow producers. As a group, you should know where every reporter is, what progress they've made, and what work still needs to be done. As the day goes on, your role may change. For example, the graphics producer takes over for the video producer to end the day, so those two producers have to discuss what work still needs to be done.
Now, I could write three or four blog posts about what you can anticipate, but the truth is you learn the most by doing. You're all capable and if you work hard you may be surprised at how rewarding it feels to put together a great newscast. Therefore, the final piece of advice I'll leave you with is to build camaraderie.
You're going to be in the trenches, so to speak, for at least 10 shows with the same people. Get to know them, check in on how they're doing and enjoy how your relationships grow. Developing a bond with your team and really caring about each others' work goes a long way toward generating great content and making the most of your time as a producer. Good luck!