Dear future producers,
You are entering a time of uncertainty and that’s ok. The first week of producing will be a lot of information and pressure, so here are a few things I learned that I wish I knew earlier.
First off, the absolute most important thing is to remain calm and have patience. As a producer, you are going to have your reporters and multimedia journalists (MJs) ask you many questions. Both you and they are new to this, therefore it is important to remember that they seek your help because you are now in charge. With that in mind, think of yourself as the teacher. I learned over the course of these past weeks that producing from my home requires much more patience than if I were at the Media Center. I wasn’t able to interact in person with my reporters and I wasn’t able to physically help the MJs with their editing. Interaction now consisted of a lot of phone and sluggish WiFi Zoom calls. All this required me to remain calm and remember that this is new for everyone. You are there for support, guidance, and decision making, which leads me to my next piece of advice: learn to make executive decisions.
Whether you are right or wrong, this is your time to make decisions. This is your time to raise your voice and speak out if you think a story needs to be included or not. Your professors will guide you, because at the end of the day, they are there to help you. But this is your show now so don’t be afraid to bring a little color to these uncertain times. However, don’t be overconfident, because it’s news and news changes hourly. Thus, be prepared for breaking news and don’t be sad if your favorite story you pitched was killed, because chances are it will happen again.
Furthermore, it is important to communicate. It sounds easy and obvious, but when there is a deadline and you have already spent six hours staring at your laptop nonstop, communication tends to disappear. While working at the Media Center, I was so frightened to take my eyes off the rundown that I often forgot to get out of my chair and communicate with my reporters about the elements they were working on and what interviews they managed to get. You cannot be a good producer if you don’t know what the story is or if the angle suddenly changed. Additionally, make the effort to remember the name of your teammates and entire production team. The more personal you are, the more willing your group is to help you because they feel respected and appreciated.
The last, but certainly not most important, thing to remember is to make your stories memorable. You have a 12 to 20 minute news show, but what makes your show different from the others? Your stories don’t all have to be emotional; they simply need to be something that you remember. Chances are, those are the stories that will keep your audience interested and excited to watch again the next week.
With this in mind, I hope you learn from my past and continue to make the ATVN family proud.
Your Wednesday ATVN producer,