When managing people, experienced or not, they will usually come to you for guidance. Whether it's to approve, teach, or guide their work, you're expected to help unless the chain of command suggests otherwise. As a producer in the newsroom, this is no different, because you're a manager. But with responsibilities of your own, it's crucial to avoid taking on too many tasks at once.
Especially when your subordinates are such intelligent, hard working people, you probably don’t want to let them down. This might lead you to offer your help with every small task, making it harder for you to finish your own assignments while making it more difficult for others to receive help with more pressing issues. All this creates an ever-expanding queue that you’re expected to finish by the time your show goes live, which is not ideal in the fast-paced culture of television.
Solving this issue might involve knowing when and when not to offer your help. If students need assistance editing video, they might need help exporting it (which is something they do every day) or they might need help with something more complex. Instead of treating both problems equally, it’s worth focusing on the more complex issue while having another subordinate help the other student.
Handling this kind of situation is not always simple, especially when it involves a task you might enjoy more than another task. For example, if you love graphics, you might focus a lot of attention on helping the art director when more attention should be spent helping students editing video. It’s important to avoid this. You must make sure to balance the two because, ultimately, your show will only succeed if you pay attention to both videos and graphics.
Mastering this managerial skill will not only improve the show’s overall efficiency and quality, but it will also translate well into any career. Whether you’re a manager or a subordinate, you’re going to be juggling tasks, and it’s important to weigh their value. Completion of more important tasks simply reflects better than those you might enjoy. But one challenge might be weighing the importance of multiple small tasks in comparison to one complex, larger one.
On a news show, there are so many factors—story length, placement, significance, appeal—and these factors are what should influence a task’s weight. As the deadline for the show to start creeps closer and closer, a minute story about a possible sex scandal will likely outweigh a shorter story about baby ducks (though, subjectivity plays a huge role).
In the end, leaning on your own story knowledge, judgment and managerial skills can help immensely when producing newscasts. And without these skills, this fast-paced environment might become unnecessarily faster.