Before I started my journey as a producer for Annenberg Media, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I had spent a semester as a reporter, interviewing sources, cutting footage and writing scripts. By December, I felt comfortable and confident where I was. But it took me about a day to realize that being a leader in the media center is a whole new ballgame.
Managing groups of reporters who usually work in shifts throughout the day certainly comes with its challenges. When we were all still on campus, communication was easier. We were all based in the media center and spent the majority of our time working within feet of each other. Being stuck at home brings new challenges, as we are all tempted to hop back into bed, take a long nap and say our internet went out.
With the lack of accountability often comes floated stories (a fancy word for cut), reporters gone MIA, and around 150 unopened Slack messages. Despite the difficulties, it has made me and my fellow producer realize that communication is the key to our success.
Making communication a priority forces us to keep track of everything going on. We have to keep a running list of the stories we are planning to put in the show, which reporters are assigned to each, and where they are in the process. It helps us stay organized and on top of things, even in the midst of chaos.
After an adjustment period, we got used to working through Zoom. We became accustomed to having a million Slack group messages and wearing blue light glasses to avoid permanent damage to our corneas after staring exclusively at screens for hours at a time.
While the process can be exhausting at times, I always try to remember how transferable all of the skills we learn doing this show are. Throughout this 100% hands-on job, we have learned a lot about leadership and the qualities necessary to be a successful part of a team in the newsroom.
Looking forward to our uncertain future, all of the producers can take some comfort in the fact that we have gotten priceless experience this semester. No matter where we end up, we can be confident in the fact that the skills we developed being producers will most certainly come in handy in the workplace.
Personally, I believe the most important skills I will take with me are communication and flexibility. The plan I craft at the beginning of the day almost never turns out exactly the same by the end. In a professional work environment, being comfortable with things changing and having to adapt quickly is important. Additionally, being a communicative member of a team will make us effective and helpful contributors.
Despite the disappointment many college students feel being torn away from their campuses, peers and resources, we could all benefit from focusing on the unique experience we have gotten, both at school and while working from home.