here is a saying that to whom much is given, much is expected. On entering my semester as a producer, the only aspect of that statement that seemed applicable was the fact that a lot was expected of me. In my semesters as an assignment desk editor and multimedia journalist at ATVN, I had come to regard the producing team with a mixture of awe and horror– it seemed they were perpetually busy, shockingly bold and desperately stressed for the duration of the day. The stamina, patience, focus and intelligence this position required seemed far beyond my capabilities.
Signing up to take the class and undergoing producer training sessions only exacerbated my fearful perception of producing. There was so much I was responsible for and so much I had no experience doing. iNews became a frightful maze of buttons and keyboard shortcuts, the graphics and video ordering systems were cryptic and I had no idea how I would find the time to write teases and the top of the show. I didn’t know my producing teammates very well yet I knew that working together effectively was imperative. On the night before my first producing day, my frantic scanning of every news website on the internet and my nerves kept me from sleeping. I tip-toed into the newsroom at 7:30am sharp the next morning, running on four cups of coffee, my parents words of encouragement and sheer adrenaline. Basically, I was terrified.
However, as I got into the rhythm of that first day, I was amazed at how quickly I learned. While I had feared that I would be outpaced or overwhelmed by my duties as a producer, I realized that I was largely responsible for the pace and atmosphere of the newsroom. Although I was intimidated by the idea of leading and directing the reporting staff, multimedia journalists and graphics artists came to me with questions or looking for assignments and I realized that I had the power to shape their stories or graphics. And despite my anxiety about collaborating with my teammates, I realized they were looking to me to communicate and share suggestions just as much I as looked to them.
While much is expected of you as a producer, so much is also given to you. Each week is the opportunity to craft something great. While the news is beyond your control, you chose what stories are important and how those stories are told. You can inspire and encourage new reporters, multimedia journalists and assignment desk editors to challenge themselves and develop new abilities and interests. You can build great relationships with your staff that extend beyond the newsroom. And if anything, producing provides you with an unparalleled learning experience–I have learned more about myself as a leader and a journalist this semester than in any other journalism course I have taken at Annenberg.
My biggest piece of advice for a new producer? Be a little afraid–not because you won’t live up to the expectations others have for you, but because you can do amazing things with the power and potential you have.
See my original post on ATVN here.