I'm not quite sure if it's a curse or a blessing, but breaking news seems to have an affinity for me when lead producing this semester. When power went out at USC, on campus and all the way to the row, our team was thrown a huge curve ball, as all studio equipment went down less than an hour before show time. In fact, not only did we have to manage losing power, but we also had an entirely new top of the show to create. Despite the obstacles and setbacks, however, our team fully accepted the challenge, embracing the old-school mantra- "the show must go on."
After the brief onset of shock from the power outage, our team was quick to cover the breaking news. Reporters scurried to shoot and interview around campus, our producing team crafted a new top of the show, and directors juggled story changes and coded accordingly. Most notably, almost every team member took on responsibilities and roles different from their usual jobs in the newsroom. For instance, our assistant director shot and pieced together sound and video, our floor manager edited clips, and students not even scheduled to work on the broadcast were pitching in to write scripts.
To be honest, I was a little flustered and overwhelmed initially by the breaking news, as I had to balance a lot of tasks: assigning reporters to stories, reworking the rundown, writing a new top of the show, and coordinating with our directors to code. However, my team and I never lost sight of the importance of communicating during the mayhem. While the rundown was changing, stories were being added and show elements still needed to be completed, there was a constant exchange (of mostly yelling) between reporters, producers and control room workers to ensure that our team was always on the same page. With the exception of a handful of mistakes in the broadcast, the execution of the show as a whole underscored the power of team work in the newsroom, especially in a breaking news situation.