I think it is safe to say that I am not a morning person.
Waking up for our 8 a.m. See-It-Live meetings every week was not ideal, but looking back, it was the most important part of the day. The 8 a.m. meeting, also known as the “pitch meeting,” is where the producers and first group of reporters meet to go over the possible stories for the day.
Even with a list of possible stories and assignments we gave our reporters to work on, I had to consistently adapt as the day went on. Whether that was breaking news, sources not getting back to us, or having to “float” (get rid of) stories, my day as a producer was one where I always had to be on my toes.
This was what I expected coming into the semester. During our very first production class, our instructor asked us what qualities make a successful producer. Many answers were common, including communicating with one another, time management, and being able to adapt quickly. As the semester went on, I learned these are only just a few of the qualities that contribute to being a successful producer.
So, to the next class of Annenberg Media producers, I want to offer some advice.
My first piece of advice is to always be on your toes. It is much easier said than done, but even in the comfort of my own home I have had to keep my ears on the all-day Zoom call to keep constant track of my art director, reporters, and anchors. So much can change within a short period of time that it is always best to stay calm and composed as a producer.
But the best advice that I have is to be the best version of yourself. I have come to realize producers are unique in the way they like to put a newscast together. Yes, it is good to receive advice and input from others, but it is just as important to stand by your decisions and what you want to do. Some examples are how you want to order your stories for your newscast, choosing whether you want a graphic for a story, or using video to start a story segment instead of an on-camera introduction.
There might be some decisions you make that other producers or reporters might agree with, but it is your responsibility to give reasons for why you made those decisions. Every producer has his or her strengths and weaknesses and I have learned it is a matter of how to take advantage of those strengths.
Overall, I just want to say for those wanting to produce that it is best to have a positive mindset. Being a producer means being a leader who everyone in the newsroom looks up to. The more encouraging and positive you can be, the more likely everyone around you will be as well.