Production Blogs

What you should know when producing the news

Be flexible and open to changing everything at the last minute.

A photo of Alexis Gebhardt going over the show rundown with Executive Producer Mimi Geller and Co-Producer Chrissa Loukas.

Over the last semester, I truly learned about the “news rush” that every broadcast producer talks about. The feeling that comes with changing the top of the show, writing teases, and fixing graphics 30 seconds before they go on air is something only a broadcast producer could experience. I wish I had been more prepared for this pressure at the beginning of the semester.

If there has to be one thing that I tell future producers going into this class, it’s that you need to be flexible. I wish I had known how to deal with the pressure of changing everything at the last minute. I think about one particular show when breaking news happened at 5 p.m. and we had to change the top of the show, the teases and write the story as other technical issues with the live shot camera operator were happening at the same time. One way to deal with this is to take each step one at a time, prioritize what needs to happen first, and just go down the list.

Another piece of advice I would like to give to future producers is to take time at the beginning of the semester to teach people who work on the newscast. As a video teammate, you get especially busy between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and it can be hectic. But, I think it is really important at the beginning of the semester to try your best to sit down and walk people through using the show rundown program, adding lower thirds and the times they should be put on the screen and other important steps in the production process. I know, and a future producer will soon learn, that this can feel impossible but I think it helps in the end and it creates a better atmosphere in the newsroom.

Overall, I think your flexibility and communication with reporters and the other producers are the most important things to make newscasts run as smoothly as possible at the start of the semester. It’s going to be rough, there’s no way around it, but it will get easier. I promise.

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.