To the rising J403 producers:

To be totally honest, there's no way to truly prepare for your semester ahead. You can never really predict when a power outage, campus lockdown, or a Sam Darnold impromptu appearance might throw a curve ball into your broadcast. However, there are certainly a few suggestions I have to help you better prepare to produce for ATVN:

  • Communicate often and don’t be afraid to ask questions– Putting on a television broadcast is a team effort and, therefore, requires each team member- producer, director, reporter, anchor and control room worker- to always be on the same page. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as over communicating in the newsroom. Also, asking questions is not a sign of weakness, but rather an asset and sign of maturity when producing. The more of your peers who are able to contribute or weigh in on a decision leads to better editorial judgment and a more collaborative newscast.
  • Focus on your writing– Writing can be one of the most difficult tasks when producing, especially when you are worrying about so many other elements of the newscast. Therefore, I’d suggest trying to write your teases, story and welcome as early as possible in the day, so you can focus on the newscast more broadly as air time gets closer. Also, make a serious effort to learn the details about each story in your rundown, as this will ensure you aren’t repeating the same basic facts throughout multiple parts of your newscast.
  • Be able to adapt and make decisions on the fly– As I alluded to earlier, you can never predict breaking news. Because we are producing for live television, it is our responsibility as producers to share the most immediate, relevant news with our audience. Consequently, there will be times when you will have to scrap that masterfully crafted broadcast just minutes before going live, and you will have to decide rather quickly what stories to float and how to reorder your rundown.

I'm truly greatly for my adrenaline-filled, blood-pressure inducing experience producing in the newsroom this semester. You're in for one heck of a rather challenging ride, but, just like I did, I know you'll cherish it.


Garrett Schwartz