See it Live has covered its fair share of heavy topics this semester: the impeachment inquiry, climate change, the vaping epidemic, a Pride Town Hall, mental health in college, the anniversary of the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting and the Saugus high school shooting. With each, the team gives its utmost attention and care to accurately portray the issue for viewers.
Thus, this week’s lighthearted show on the long-standing crosstown rivalry between USC and UCLA provided a much-needed reset and allowed the producers—myself, Yannie and Zoe—the space to be creative. Our “today angle” to Thursday’s show about a Saturday football game was the annual Conquest festival happening on campus that evening in McCarthy Quad.
I would love to say that it was a given for us to open the show with the live shot at Conquest. However, creating a rundown is a process, with many elements to consider. We had several ideas before we landed on our final structure. That structure included a live pre-show tease from our reporter at Conquest, Kellie, a live explanation of what the event was like in its first hour and ending with a toss to the package she had produced earlier in the day about Saweetie, the new Conquest headline performer.
While this structure is not particularly new for ATVN, I was proud that we were able to try something different for our show, as Hunter is normally the reporter in the field. Instead, we had him in the studio to discuss the game with Annenberg Media sports director Sam Arslanian, who is also a new voice for See it Live. The two of them had their discussion at the chromakey, our green screen, with highlight video of a previous USC UCLA game in the background to set the scene. Having this conversation at the chromakey was new for us, as well. Typically ATVN has anchors do similar discussions at the monitor or on the couch.
However, we had another in-studio interview with the Conquest co-hosts that was at the couch earlier that day, and our other anchors, Genevieve and Chris needed the monitor. Using video in the chromakey was debated in the control room, with some thinking the video was distracting and others finding it engaging. We made a last-minute decision to use a graphic for Hunter and Sam’s intro and then cut to video in the background, only in the second half, to limit the time the viewer may feel distracted.
Visually, the show was ambitious compared to our other shows that took a more traditional television news style. The most ambitious choice, in my opinion, and also my favorite new element was the choice to include a “highlight reel” type video at the top of the show. Since we had a show that’s main audience was students, I thought the video served an important role in engaging viewers with strong visuals and intense audio.
Overall, I was pleased not only with the producer’s ambition, but equally the willingness of our entire team of reporters, multimedia journalists and studio crew to try new roles and ways of doing the show.