My time as a producer for Annenberg TV news was an extremely rewarding experience. I was fortunate enough to go into this class knowing a bit about producing, since I was a sports anchor for ATVN last year and produced a segment for the newscast. But I originally decided to take this class when I was asked to be sports director for next year. I wanted to be prepared for my new role by learning the essential skills to become a good producer.
However, this class taught me more than just how to build a rundown for a show. I've learned more valuable skills than any other class I've taken at USC, such as how to lead, how to communicate effectively with my peers, and how to make decisions on the fly. With that said I have some parting words of advice for future JOUR 403 students.
- Be a leader.
Producing is a leadership position. Whether you're in the morning meeting or building the rundown or in the control room, you are in charge. Have a clear vision for your show. Be responsible for your decisions and your mistakes. Also, know every member of your team. Develop relationships with each person and help them realize their strengths. Make sure everyone on your team does his or her part to get the show done. In order to do so, you need to communicate effectively, which transitions to my next piece of advice.
2. Be an effective communicator.
Putting on a television newscast is a team effort, and requires everyone from producers to directors to anchors to multimedia journalists to be on the same page. Have conversations throughout the day with each member of your team to see how they're doing. Make sure everyone understands your vision and is helping to carry it out. Be sensitive to other people's backgrounds and beliefs. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions and get constructive feedback from your team, especially on choices you make for the show. When your team members weigh in on a decision, you'll have a more collaborative newscast.
- Be able to adapt.
There is always the potential for breaking news. You might be totally in love with your show but then have to scrap half of it right before air. You want to report the most relevant and timely news to your audience, so it's your responsibility to adapt when breaking news happens. Be decisive in floating stories and changing the rundown to make more time for breaking news. If you find yourself overwhelmed, ask for help.
I hope this advice helps you on the whirlwind journey you are about to embark on. I wish you the best of luck!