I feel like this happens every semester, but I always seem to be surprised when it comes to an end. I was lucky enough this semester to have not one but two classes where I've really grown close to my classmates and it was actually pretty disappointing to have our last classes. But, I look at this as something amazing and a great testament to the amazing experiences I've had as a producer this semester. Now, as I thought about how to write this post and how best to structure my thoughts and advice, lyrics from the musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda flooded my head as everything began to take shape.
When it comes to news, no one really has control. It's funny how you can come into the Media Center in the morning with a nice little coverage plan for the day, and more times than not, that plan will be completely out the window by the time the show goes on air. But that's okay, that's just how news is. Nothing too radical ever happened too close to air on a day that I was producing, but I had the chance to help out on days when that happened. It's a rewarding experience to be a part of a team of producers. While I've learned something about each of the ten other producers, I've also learned a lot about myself.
That's my best advice for students taking this class next semester. Hopefully, you're taking this class because you're at least somewhat interested in what goes on in the control room during a live newscast—at least that's why I took the class. In the various roles I've worked in the Media Center, I was always intrigued by the producers. I wanted to know what it was like sitting in that chair, coordinating with everyone, and calling the shots for the show. I was also so interested in back timing. If you don't know what that is, don't worry, you'll learn about it quickly.
When I found myself doubting whether or not I could actually succeed in this class, I always thought back to how I felt before the semester began. I reminded myself how excited I was to take the class and how badly I wanted to take part in the production of a live show.
This lyric captures how I'm currently feeling. I'm truly going to miss the time I've had producing. While I can find similar ways to be just as involved in the Media Center, there isn't anything like being a producer in this class. You'll be challenged, regardless of how much experience you have. Being a lead producer is hard. It's one of the hardest things I've done during my time in the Media Center, but it's also been the most rewarding. It's alright to be nervous the first time you lead produce, especially if you don't feel that you've had a ton of experience in the Media Center, but don't be scared and don't be worried. You'll get through your day-of-air. You have the benefit of fellow reporters, reporters, journalists, and faculty who—for the most part—are more than willing to help you. As spring J403 students, you'll also have the advantage of the returning producers who I can bet would be more than happy to help out if you need it.
Even though you'll be challenged, don't let that discourage you. Ask for help. You're surrounded by a number of people who are more than willing to help you grow. I'll be the first to admit that I don't really like asking for help. If I can figure out a way to do something myself, then that's my first option. I don't recommend doing that as a producer. Rather stubbornly, I found myself reaching out to my alum friends that had taken the class to ask for advice and just talk about how everything was going. That helped immensely. Also, don't be afraid to lean on your teammates. Putting together a show is a team effort, that's why you're in producing teams. Take advantage of that early on.
Open yourself up to getting to know everyone on your team. Learn their names and chat with them whenever you can. These are simple actions that mean a lot in the long term. Having solid relationships with your team helps when the crunch time comes and you need extra help from those around you. On the same note, be willing to teach other people. As a producer, you're a leader in the Media Center. The students on their class shifts depend on you for advice and help. Take the extra couple of minutes to show them where a graphic goes, how to edit audio levels in Premiere, and how to frame an interview. If you take the time to do these little things at the start of the semester, your shows will be that much better as the semester progresses.
At the end of it all, I was most surprised with how much I thoroughly loved producing. I came into the semester with minimal intentions of going into journalism after I graduated. After spending last semester in Rome, my world opened up and I found myself no longer wishing to pursue a career in journalism. Even as the first few weeks of classes started, I was hesitant to really dive back into my work as sports director—but that was before I actually had the chance to produce a newscast.
The first day I got to lead produce was stressful and hectic, but when I reflected on that day, I realized how rewarding and unique that experience was. Producing a live show is an adrenaline rush unlike anything I've experienced before and something that I would love to continue to do after graduation.
I'm beyond thankful for my time in this class, for the experiences I've had, the things I've learned, and the friends I've made. Take advantage of your time in J403. If you go into it with an open mind and a positive attitude, you'll be more than ready to reap the benefits from your semester of producing.