This week I had the pleasure of producing not one, but two newscasts. One of the first things I learned from producing is that communication is key. Without proper communication, the quality of the newscast will likely suffer.
On Thursday, I learned what can happen when communication falls through the cracks. As USC Annenberg tech supervisor, John Goldsmith, rightfully pointed out to the producers, anchors, multimedia journalists, and studio crew during the post-newscast meeting on Thursday evening, not one of the newscast’s fourteen videos were online by 4:30 p.m., just ninety minutes prior to going live at 6 p.m. In my role as video and graphics producer, it was my job to ensure all videos are online ideally by the time of our 5 p.m. run through. Unfortunately, most of the videos were not sent to the server by this time.
In Thursday’s case, I was so concerned about making a flawless show, that the very opposite actually occurred. This is because I was so wrapped up with ensuring the graphics were ordered that I simply neglected to specifically assign our multimedia journalists (MJs) to edit many of our videos. But I got lucky because all of our MJs are extremely talented and a pleasure to work with. As a result, many of the videos were edited in a timely manner and made it into the run through. That said, I know I cannot and will not get this lucky every week. Moreover, while most of the videos made it in time for the run through, a few did not. Even one video that cannot be viewed during the run through is one too many. As a result of my lack of communication, the newscast, and in particular, the run through suffered, as the studio crew was unable to play certain sound bites and voice overs in advance of the newscast. While all of the videos eventually made it into the newscast, this lack of communication added greater stress to the crew and anchors both during the run through and the newscast.
I had a different producing experience on Tuesday. As it was my first time serving as the lead producer, I was extremely vigilant and particular, especially with respect to communication between our stellar MJs and myself. As soon as our MJs reported for their shifts, I immediately sat them down, informing them about our plan for the newscast. Explaining my hopes for the show and what I would need in order to achieve our goals significantly enhanced the outcome of the final product. This method of communication worked. One such example took place when I explained to one of our MJs that we were trying to get a Skype interview with a student from Chapman University after that school’s administration canceled classes due to the Anaheim Hills “Canyon Fire 2.” Not only did this MJ help find a student to interview on this topic, but also went above and beyond, conducting a phone interview with a school representative who explained the reasoning behind the decision to cancel classes. This MJ then edited both interviews, exporting them before any other video that day. This portion of the newscast was relatable to our student audience; it was important that it aired successfully. Similar communication took place between MJs and myself during the rest of the day. The newscast benefited as a result because most videos were edited and uploaded by the time of the run through. Therefore, the actual newscast ran smoothly as we were able to view many videos before going live.
On Thursday, the newscast suffered as a result of my poor communication. But on Tuesday, I learned that even a short sit-down conversation can go a long way, ultimately benefiting the final outcome. I look forward to continuing with this mindset as the semester unfolds.