As someone who has had to deal with a lot of multitasking throughout my academic and professional career, I’m always looking at ways to improve the efficiency of workflows. Even if things seem perfect, I always try to look at where time can be saved or how tasks can be accomplished more quickly.
Just over a month ago, I wrote up a list of things I could personally do to improve the mechanics of Tuesday’s day-of-air operations. I told my supervisor “I hope I get the chance to implement some of these,” just before leaving for what I already knew was going to be a longer-than-usual spring break. The media center was officially closed about four days later and all in-person classes were canceled for the remainder of the semester shortly thereafter. As I recounted in last week’s blog, I was mostly disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to work in such a wonderful environment any longer, but I was also saddened that my time for experimentation with those workflows was over before it really started.
However, remote producing has introduced an entirely new way of doing just about everything. With new systems, different opportunities for improvement have become clear over the last few weeks. This week we switched to using Dropbox for transferring the various files created by multimedia journalists throughout the day. The upload/download speeds were increased and file organization was greatly simplified. Sometimes making a big change like this can seem daunting or even like a step backward as you adjust, but trying new things is the perfect way to make sure things are running as smoothly as possible.
We also opted to adjust the workflow for the final editing of the show. Instead of two producers building half of the show independently, we switched to Adobe’s team projects which allowed our team to observe edited footage and communicate changes much faster. Unfortunately, this newfound speed may have given us an unearned confidence and we missed a few things in the final cut of the night that we had to fix the next day. While I have no doubt that the new tools helped us, I also recognize that the most important part of improving efficiency is to maintain quality. We have to make sure that we’re balancing both of these important parts of production.
This week’s new segment “Questions in Quarantine” certainly improved the quality of our show. The goal of the segment is to explain the most interesting topics of the week related to the coronavirus. I think the pilot episode turned out great and really improved the quality of the information we were able to deliver to our viewers. I’m looking forward to whatever interesting questions we are able to answer for them in the coming weeks.
With new segments, new tools, and, most importantly, new lessons learned, I have no doubt that our last few weeks at this job will only improve.