What surprised me the most about producing this semester was the number of elements that each producer must keep track of throughout the day. While I understood producing was no small job, I didn't realize the full extent of what it requires. The lead producer undoubtedly has the most challenging position in this regard. Before my first day as lead producer, I wish I had known more about what exactly the position entailed.
I had the basic understanding that it was my responsibility to create the show's rundown and communicate with the other producers about how we covered the stories. However, the responsibilities of the lead producer stretch far beyond these tasks, which took quite a bit of time to get used to. The lead producer needs to be prepared to have a completely comprehensive understanding of the status of the show at any particular moment. That means that the lead must be constantly communicating with reporters, multimedia journalists, the show's directors, etc.
The amount of responsibility the lead has can be overwhelming and stressful. Being organized is an essential part of being successful in this position. I learned to keep checklists of the tasks that needed to be accomplished throughout the day and notes of the elements acquired for each story. For example, one of the things I struggled with most was remembering the precise details of what video and sound reporters recorded in the field. The lead is expected to have a complete understanding of the video available, so writing notes about what video and sound has been shot is helpful.
For anyone new to producing, the best advice I could have gotten would be that strong organization, coupled with communication, help to alleviate much of the stress that comes along with producing and makes the day much more manageable, regardless of which producing role you are in.