There are thousands of tiny details that go into any day-of-air newscast. After a discussion of what stories to cover in the morning meeting, each story undergoes a massive amount of unforeseen changes before making it to air.
While you're learning how all the decisions you make as a producer affect your broadcast, it's really easy to fall into the traditional framework of things. When it feels like the world is burning around you, it's so easy to stick to a tried and true formula. That's been the biggest struggle for me so far this semester.
There have been times this semester when my co-producer and I have gone into the day confident that we're going to try new things, that we're going to do something innovative. But as our airtime gets closer and stories have morphed before our eyes, we've thrown some of those innovations out the window just for the sake of getting the show to air. It's the path of least resistance.
My main goal this semester is to do things differently and present content in new ways: to get creative. But there's a lot that goes into it. First, it takes getting the little things down to a point where I can finish them quickly, and to a point where I'm comfortable enough to take chances. From there it takes the confidence to actually take the leap, which is one of my biggest personal battles overall.
The last thing creativity requires is inspiration, and on that front, I think I'm already progressing steadily. Ever since starting this process, I've been watching more television broadcasts and online shows looking for new ways to do things.
This past weekend I attended the Computer Assisted Reporting Conference in Newport Beach. There I learned how to utilize data for broadcast stories without making it intimidating and what kind of graphics work well on screen. I can't wait to implement these things in my shows going forward.
Creativity is invaluable in any news-based profession. The only way to get through a day in the newsroom is to constantly be thinking of creative solutions to problems. In every interview I've had so far, one of the questions has been, "What's the most creative thing you've done?" It shows that you're agile, that you can handle problems as they come. But most importantly, it shows that you're always thinking.
With regards to the newscast, the best thing I have going for me is that I recognize the stories I want to tell. I love explainers. I like taking complicated issues — like campaign finance or net neutrality — and making them digestible. I want to innovate with visuals and tell stories graphically, and I'm leaning more how to do that every day.
I want to be able to handle anything the news day can throw at me.