Producing was full of challenges, small triumphs, and surprises. I gained a lot of things over the course of the semester, including a coffee habit. Here's some wisdom for the new class of producers I wish I'd known when I got started: 

Know Your Team

Knowing your team's names is the first step, but knowing each person's strengths is invaluable. Everyone in the newsroom relies on each other. In tight situations, with 5 p.m. approaching, knowing who can crank out an edit quickly for a missing voice over and who does a great live shot can change the trajectory of your show. Playing to your team's strengths will keep them more engaged and ensure you have a successful newscast.

Take Time on Your Pitches

While your graduate teams, multimedia journalists (MJs) and reporters will come in with great ideas, a slow news day or a minor mishap may mean resorting to plans B and C. By taking the time to familiarize yourself with what's happening on the newswires, community news sites, and social media feeds the night before, you enter the morning meeting ready for anything.

Be confident

Even though you may not know what you're doing (I certainly didn't), you have a whole team relying on you to act decisively. Some of my favorite shows were the ones where I made a strong creative decision. It can be easy to keep your head down and let others decide the fate of the show, but it's not nearly as fun as taking ownership. When in doubt, fake it 'til you make it, and hope nobody else can tell the difference.

Keep an open mind

While many people in JOUR 403 are there because they want to work in broadcast news professionally, I was not. If you're like me and haven't dedicated your college career to the media center up to this point, it can feel intimidating hopping into a leadership position. But even if producing isn't your ultimate goal, there's still plenty to gain. Teamwork, deadlines, and problem solving are valuable in any profession. When the hours feel especially long, making friends with your producing team also doesn't hurt.