I couldn’t sleep all night before our first show. I couldn’t sleep the night after it either. Even though the show day had passed, the nerves remained. I still remember how awful it felt to go to black on our first live show (the ultimate broadcast no-no!). It felt like I’d never be able to recover as a producer.
Despite how bad it felt then, looking back at this semester has proved me wrong.
I think the most important thing I’ve learned being a producer is that the stories you tell matter more than how you tell them. Even though our semester got turned upside down by a literal global pandemic and we had to leave our studio behind, we still managed to make shows four days a week without missing a beat.
One side benefit of this awful situation is that there are so many more stories to tell that actually matter. The work journalists do has never been more important than it is now.
That’s why now, at the end of the semester, despite all the stress and script flubs and interview requests that nobody replied to, my pride in the work we’ve done far outstrips any of the sadness I felt when things went wrong.
My advice for the next batch of producers? Focus on the stories you want to tell, rather than the nerves. Think about what you want to see in the news, even if you’re not on the clock. Build your stories out early and try to make them better than what you see on cable or network news. And then, go into the studio and make it happen.