When I began school at USC, my dream was to be an anchor for Annenberg TV News. But when anchor auditions came around the fall of my sophomore year, I chickened out because pitching a story was part of the audition and I had no idea how to do it. (I ended up working up the confidence to audition the following semester, but that’s a story for another time). Now, almost two years and a semester of producing Annenberg TV News later, I can’t help but laugh at that memory. It is absolutely mind-boggling how much I have evolved as both a human being and a journalist, and the majority of that growth happened right here, in Stacy’s (my instructor) production class and during days-of-air, over the past four months.
I took a leap of faith when I registered for this class and came into my role as a producer with enthusiasm and an open mind. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it and had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the aspect of the unknown excited me. Early in the semester, I could feel my journalistic skill set broadening and strengthening with each class session and each day-of-air. There is always room for improvement, but I am a million times more confident in my journalistic abilities after taking this course. Not only did I learn how to pitch stories, write scripts, and choose graphics and b-roll (the visuals the audience sees while the anchor is talking over them), I also learned how to trust my instincts, have confidence in my editorial decisions, work well under pressure, and stay organized. Though the work was strenuous and the days were long, I became addicted to the adrenaline rush of producing an entire newscast. I learned to adore the role I was once unsure of.
Because of this, my producer brain was turned on at all times: every article I read, I’d ask myself where we would want a graphic and what visuals we would use if we covered it. I’d scroll on social media endlessly to find a unique story to pitch and scour the internet for prospective sources’ contact information. I’d text my co-producer, Lizzy, the night before our day-of-air so we could bounce story ideas off of one another.
Speaking of Lizzy, I also discovered that I absolutely thrive in a team-driven environment. My executive producer Nisha, Lizzy, and I formed a great relationship that got stronger with each week of production. We all brought different perspectives, ideas, and skills to the table and could always count on each other to help out when we needed it. The three of us prioritized communication and would constantly be updating one another on the producer Zoom or in Slack throughout the day. We set the precedent of collaboration early on and ran with it, and I thoroughly believe that it made our show stronger and more cohesive.
I am eternally grateful I took that leap of faith when I registered for this class. Never in a thousand years could I have imagined how much I would develop as a journalist over Zoom and in such a short period of time. I always knew journalism was my passion, but this class has given me thousands of more reasons to reaffirm it. So, if you’re looking for a reason to take Stacy’s class, this is it.