Production Blogs

Nearly the next FDR: Bringing fireside chats to Annenberg TV News…

How Team Monday is trying to pull our audience into the world of politics à la Marco Ramirez’s newly re-branded segment, Fireside Facts.

Screengrab from ATVN broadcast, Nov. 1, 2021, showing Marco Ramirez in front of 'Fireside Facts' screen.

We’ve reached that critical make-or-break moment in the semester: hitting the snooze button looks more appealing than getting up for that 8 a.m., your go-to microwaveable Trader Joe’s meals are tasting more like fuel than food, and on top of all of that, it’s about to start getting dark before ‘Fryft’ starts.

In short, things are getting stale… so in her infinite wisdom, ATVN Director Stacy Scholder is encouraging all of us to get creative with our newscasts. Break out of that funk, producers! Three more shows to go!

When my lovely co-producer Amy Altman and I were first tasked with coming up with the NBS (next big segment, duh), we immediately looked to Marco Ramirez, our politics reporter. Marco always comes in eager to pitch a hot, politically-related topic meant to inform our viewers on what’s happening in the world. Whether that’s about Gov. Gavin Newsom signing a couple of dozen bills in one day, or the latest on the Los Angeles mayoral race, Marco brings personable, eager energy to anything he’s covering.

This is exactly why Amy and I knew he had what it took to be the next Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but we are big fans of the former president’s “fireside chats,” which is where we got the name for our NBS, “Fireside Facts.” We thought it would be great to have a place for Marco to break down a more technical aspect of a timely political event – like the details of what was happening with the Texas abortion law in the Supreme Court this week.

The execution of this idea, however, was a little shaky. The content of this week’s segment was less explainer and more hard news. As the lead producer this week, that misstep fell on my shoulders – I should have communicated my vision more clearly so that the segment came to life.

I do want to shout out both Marco for his great work this week, and Myrah Sarwar, our incredible art director. Myrah made an awesome intro graphic (see the header image), that perfectly captured the intimate, cozy vibe that Amy and I were going for.

So with all that, I hope you’ll tune in for Team Monday’s next installation of Fireside Facts! I’m positive it’ll be a great one.

This story was written as an assignment in JOUR403: Television News Production with Professor Stacy Scholder. Annenberg Media student editors also reviewed the story and published it per newsroom guidelines.