I haven’t fully accepted that the semester is over. While there have been celebratory Facetimes and final class photos taken via Zoom, I know that when next Wednesday comes, I’ll be wishing I was producing another newscast.
There is so much I am going to miss. I am so grateful to have had such an amazing and capable team. One of my favorite parts of working on a day-of-air broadcast is the moment it’s done. It sounds odd but after a long day of producing, the feeling that comes the moment after you finish watching the newscast is unrivaled. I love to revel in that moment and think to myself, “We did that; I helped create that.”
This class has been anything but what I expected. It challenged me more than any other class I have taken at USC. It forced me to challenge my gut instincts and learn to trust them. It taught me technical knowledge and professional etiquette. It taught me about teamwork, communication, and delegation. It presented me with so many learning opportunities and unintentional life lessons. While all of this may seem daunting, let me just say it is absolutely worth it.
To the producers of next semester, I have a few words of advice: be flexible. This has been one of the most unusual semesters thus far and it required us to adapt and be flexible nearly every minute of day-of-air. Whether next semester you are in the Media Center or working remotely, flexibility is necessary to make it through the day and successfully produce a show. Chances are not every aspect of the show you plan will work out. Things change, and news is constantly happening. New information arises all the time and you need to be prepared to expect the unexpected and adapt. The stories pitched at the 8 a.m. editorial meeting did not always make it to the show. It could be for a plethora of reasons including sources not responding, the footage having no sound, not uploading in time; the possibilities are endless. The key take away is to adapt and power through. As they say in theater, “The show much go on.” It applies to day-of-air production in the same way.
I also have to warn you. Producing can be frustrating; for everything that goes right, more often than not five things go wrong. There is a feeling that follows moments like this and it is burnout. Be wary of this, it causes you to lose sight of the overall goal and stop asking for what you need for the broadcast. You might start accepting less than stellar work and telling yourself “I’m so over it.” I noticed this burnout happening to me during this past week, so I stopped myself and refused to let the sentiment continue. It was the last show I would produce with this class and this team, and I wanted to give it my best effort. This semester has felt like a marathon and every day-of-air felt like another marathon in and of itself. Watch out for these moments and take a step back. It is in these moments that you need to take a pause, re-evaluate, and reset. You can do it and you will. Be flexible and the show will come together. I wish you all the best. You will learn so much. This class is by far one of the most rewarding courses of my academic career.