Production Blogs

JOUR 403 reflections

How my television news and sports production class opened my eyes to the inner-workings of the broadcast news industry.

[One-sentence description of what this media is: "A photo of a vaccine site on USC campus" or "Gif of dancing banana". Important for accessibility/people who use screen readers.]

I can’t believe this is my final week in JOUR 403, which also means this is my final blog of narrating either one week’s struggle or another week’s victory. This class taught me a lot in both the personal and professional spheres.

Whenever I was asked, “So Amy, what do you want your career to be?” I would always respond with, “I want to be a producer.” Not fully knowing or understanding what that meant, this class definitely helped define just some of the responsibilities of a producer for broadcast news at the university level. I have only heard great things about taking this class, so I was eager to learn, understand, and grow as a journalist and producer.

At the beginning of the semester, I blamed myself for a lot of mistakes that would end up on the air. I would then be upset for the rest of the evening if there was no locator graphic for the story or an editing error that meant the screen was black before the video played. However, producing week after week and listening to the advice from both faculty and writing coaches, I learned that what happens in the newsroom stays in the newsroom. With this new mindset, I reminded myself weekly of the adage, the show must go on. For those future students considering this class, remind yourself that you are learning and don’t be so hard on yourself because we are all human and make mistakes.

I think another big lesson from this class is the idea of finding a school-life balance. This connects to the previous point about not letting the show errors get to you but also taking time for yourself throughout the hectic 10-hour class shift. Something I advocated for from the start, something I talk about a lot, is the importance of a 30-minute lunch break. Get that fresh air, be in the sun, eat that filling meal and then return to the media center. The first week as a producer, I felt that if I left to eat that I was doing something wrong and letting my team down. Like I said, the show goes on, you are working on a team for a reason, and remember your health correlates to your level of productivity, so a 30-minute break is the least you can do to check in on yourself.

In addition to these two pieces of advice, I would encourage you to have fun, create new segments that cater to your audience, and never stop asking for help. I pestered our incredible writing coaches and professor, Stacy Scholder, with a billion questions even in week 14 of the class, but that is okay. Create segments that we don’t have; one of my classmates created a mindfulness-oriented segment. You have the resources, so go for it.

A skill from this class that I will definitely be taking with me throughout my career is patience. Whether it be patience with the software malfunctioning or having to explain how to export a video onto the hard drive for three weeks in a row to a multimedia journalist (MJ), it is important to recognize that the producers are learning and growing just as much as the MJs are.

I would like to say a special thank you to my professor, Stacy Scholder. After my long, 10-hour shifts once a week, I sometimes questioned why Stacy would do those long hours four days each week. And I realized it’s because she loves journalism, helping students pursue their dreams in the newsroom, and seeing us grow and learn as young journalists. Thank you, Stacy, for teaching me the most important lessons of how to fight for a story, approach it from different angles, produce content under deadline, and grow in my confidence that if I want to be successful, I can, because what matters most is that I believe in myself.

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.