Small things go a long way in TV news. And this week as the teammate producer, it was all about the little things. The first small but major change I made this week was suggested by our lead producer, Diego. He suggested that I put every new element for each story on the whiteboard in the media center, with the name of the journalist getting the element. For example, when doing interviews for various stories, I would put the time of the interview, who was being interviewed, and who was doing the interview. This way, Diego could keep track of what was happening in every story without having to check who is getting the element. While this is essentially what we do in Trello, our online assignment management system, having the visual representation on the board helps everyone, including the multimedia journalists (MJs), who often have to continue someone else’s story.
This week we also continued our #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) segment. This week I had our news anchor, Kellie, find someone in advance, which made our planning so much easier. I had a breakdown of what the story was going to be beforehand, which made Diego’s life easier as well.
In general, I love working with our reporters and helping them improve their stories. But this week, I got to do that a lot more. I made it more of a priority to work one-on-one with students, especially because most of them have never done packages or are relatively new to it. For example, I helped our reporter Genevieve get the bulk of her interviews. Her story was about Latina Equal Pay Day, and she wasn’t sure how to get interviews. I got her several names, and connected her with some outspoken Latinx students I know. I made sure to keep tabs on her, so that I could have MJs assist her when needed. Overall, I feel like I paid more individual attention and that definitely helped create better stories.
Another example of working one-on-one with a reporter to improve storytelling was my work with Morgan Stephens about the impact of the impeachment hearings. She presented me with several graphic ideas, and I thought they were way too wordy. I suggested she condense the ideas, and she then did an explainer in the studio to breakdown the information. I didn’t want to assume that our viewers could follow the data, and since it was still relatively complex, even after breaking it down, I thought it would be helpful to have her explain it on camera. Explainers do really well with my age group. On social media, explainer videos regularly go viral, because the media often forgets that a lot of people don’t know what phrases like “quid pro quo,” mean off the top of their heads. Explainers are also more conversational and less robotic and old-fashioned.
Even though I was the teammate producer, my inner reporter never dies. I developed a few stories this week, even though I usually do that when I’m lead producer. I tracked social media a lot more, and found the Facebook group about the USC parents who created a group for mental health resources called, “Counseling Connection Corner.” I broke down the elements we would need and assigned it as soon as Diego agreed. In the morning, I also made sure to use my social media skills to pitch Transgender Remembrance Day as a story. Today social media definitely guided my news-gathering process, which was an impactful change.