Every Wednesday, I am reminded that communication is key. Sure, it's implied that you need a team to put on a newscast, but what comes with working with others that I didn't realize walking into my first day producing… constant communication.
The newsroom is a fluid environment throughout the day. People are coming in and out, and honestly some people are just running around in circles. As a producer it becomes your responsibility to become a certified stalker of the reporters, multimedia journalists, and your co-producer during your shift.
Personally, I found that when it comes to multimedia journalists and graduate reporters, texting is a must. This is stalking tip number one. Even if I have already worked with a reporter, I make sure after every morning meeting to have them write down their numbers. Throughout the day when everyone is gone and the media center quiets down… it becomes stalking time. If the reporters have not already called or texted me, it's my time to start typing away, hunting for any story updates. I'll always ask for specifics on interviews, video, and where they are; as I said, it's basic stalking. I am certain that without that communication, that quiet, middle of the day time would turn the media center into a deep void of uncertainty.
Something new that I have learned this semester, it is possible to have no clue what your co-producer is doing… even if she is sitting less than five feet away from you. By afternoon it becomes almost too easy to lose touch with your co-producer. There are weeks as video producer I am pulled in 15 different directions. If I don't tell my co-producer Maddie what I have multimedia journalists doing or what I have heard from reporters… well, we could just be wasting time. For example, a few weeks ago we assigned two different multimedia journalists to the same story only due to the fact that we hadn't checked in with each other in an hour. We realized because we aren't telepathic, this not checking in experience would not work as we continue on throughout the semester.
After week one, we decided to make a Google doc. On this document we write down everything we know about stories and what tasks we have assigned multimedia journalists. At times, when one of us gets busy and doesn't have time to write or look at the doc, we make sure to meet, in person, to discuss the rundown together. These check ins are so valuable; every time we talk one of us is learning new information regarding certain stories and are able to better guide reporters.
In summary, don't stop communicating. Talk, text, Facetime, whatever you prefer, just stay in touch throughout your day in the media center. Producing is a job wrapped around teamwork. And one last tip for you, become best friends with your reporters. If you can't do that, let the stalker in you shine.