My time as a producer at Annenberg Media has come to an end. It’s a bittersweet moment. The 2020 spring semester producers will always be remembered as the group who had to quickly adjust to producing shows remotely during a global pandemic. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this group. We did something no other class has ever had to do.
There were so many lessons I learned throughout this semester. So before I officially become an alumna of Annenberg Media, I want to leave some advice for the incoming ATVN/See It Live producers.
Producing is an intimidating task. Don’t let that scare you away. For your first few shows, there is no doubt you will feel overwhelmed. Things will calm down and you will eventually feel comfortable. It’s a lot. I get it. You’re suddenly in charge of creating a newscast and on top of it you’re also being graded on how well you do.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Stacy is there to guide you. Yes, she is keeping a running Google doc on your performance, but she wants to see you and the newscast succeed. Asking questions will not only help you, but it will also benefit your team. There’s a good chance your fellow producer has the same questions.
When it comes to creating the newscast, the best advice I could share with you is this: make every minute count.
As a producer, your job is to inform and keep your audience engaged. Nobody wants to hear or see someone talk for too long. People will watch your newscast. Don’t lose them in the middle because you weren’t utilizing your time wisely.
Don’t be too committed to the order of your newscasts. It will probably change. News is always breaking, stories don’t finish in time. That list can go on forever. If a story has to be dropped, don’t freak out. Imagine the scene from the sitcom “The Office” where Michael Scott is yelling to his employees to stay calm.
You just have to be able to adapt to these changes quickly. If a reporter tells you their story isn’t going to make it and you have a two minute time slot allotted for them in the rundown, come up with a way to fill that time right away. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to fill time. The goal is to never have your audience know the stress of what you’re going through behind the scenes.
Also, take a few risks. Television news is changing. We’re living in a digital age now. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Who knows you may start something that lasts for years to come.
I’m a goals person. I like having something to work towards. Before the semester, I had a list of goals I wanted to accomplish before we got to the end. It was a really rewarding moment when I accomplished them. So before your first day-of-air shift, write down a few goals for yourself. I promise you won’t regret it.
The semester will be be over before you know it. You will be sad and miss it. So appreciate every moment you can. I didn’t know my time in the media center was going to end as quickly as it did, and I only wish I had taken it in and appreciated it one last time.