TV news is, in my opinion, the ultimate team sport. Sure, it doesn't have the athletic rigor, unless you count running from the edit bay to the control room or carrying around pounds of camera equipment. But it does require enormous amounts of teamwork.
Every day, we have dozens of people coming together to put on a show. And we couldn't do the show without each and every one of them.
Though my role changes each week (and within the week I do different jobs on different days), my first focus is doing my job fully, whether that be putting in graphics, assigning multimedia journalists (MJs), approving video or building the rundown. But beyond that, I try to help wherever I can.
As video teammate this week, I let the executive producer and lead producer know when I saw breaking news on Twitter we may want to cover, like the senate bill to ban assault weapons and bump stocks. I offered suggestions ahead of the morning meeting to cover for any unusable pitches. I told them when there were new stories on CNN we may want to look into more, like another Kevin Spacey accuser coming out. And towards the end of the day, I tried to fix problems wherever I could, adding in missing lower thirds, coding backup lines for the always-busy directors and clarifying tricky pronunciations with the anchors.
I also aim to be a leader for the team. I think it's important to let the executive producer and lead producer be in charge of the rundown and lead communication with reporters in the field. I focus on leading the MJs, especially as video teammate. We're fortunate to have a strong team of students throughout the day, and especially in the last shift.
Those afternoon students have gotten so fast at editing that if I assign them something, they'll be ready for approval within minutes. I try to make sure they feel ownership over what they're working on, explaining the story and what we hope to accomplish with it, showing them what it looks like in the rundown and any existing script and encouraging them to make suggestions if they have new ideas. I also try to distribute the work evenly, so everyone has something to do – easier said than done when everyone works so quickly. And beyond the pressing day-of assignments, I make a point to encourage these younger students to ask questions and pursue more in the Media Center.
So much of being a good teammate and leader is making sure every member of the team understands his or her role and is eager to complete it. I try to make sure that happens in every day-of-air – it makes for a better experience and a better product.