Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Team B 4:10 Newscast

I knew producing was going to be a challenge ... and it was. As tough as it was though, I don't think my first stab at producing went too badly and at the end of the day ... I think I actually kind of enjoyed it.
I was somewhat relieved to be a producer this week because I think it's always a little tough being a reporter. Coming up with ideas isn't that hard but sometimes it's like pulling teeth to get people to be cooperative and there's always potential for interview plans to fall through at the last minute, which can be pretty scary.
That false sense of relief went away as soon as I woke up this morning though. My phone was going crazy. Text messages and calls every minute. I quickly realized, I wasn't dealing with one story like I would be if I was a reporter: I was doing four. I knew what Hannah and Erika were doing on Tuesday but I still didn't know what Jess and Merav were doing yet. Merav told me she wanted to do another story on the NCAAs coming to Syracuse. She wanted to take a Kentucky angle which was different from Erika's Sheraton Hotel and Hannah's Shirt World angles but I wondered if three stories on the Sweet 16/Elite 8 would be too many, so that got me a little bit nervous and I started to try and steer Merav towards a different phoner idea. Meanwhile people at Manny's and Shirt World weren't being very cooperative towards Hannah, something neither of us anticipated and that got me a little worried too. To top it off, Jess still wasn't sure what she was doing so she decided that she was going to go to the Common Council meeting. That was fine by me ... but she didn't have a car to get her there. After some pretty hectic phone tag I got Aaron to give Jess a ride. Aaron Ortega to the rescue again.
After the producer's meeting I got a pretty good idea of what copy stories I should write and I got to writing my rundown. I also got to see what the other news-teams were planning on doing for stories and I noticed that the other groups were putting a big emphasis on the NCAA Regionals. After seeing this I told Merav she'd be fine to do the phoner she had originally planned on doing.
I was really impressed by how Jess and Hannah fought through some adversity and ended up putting together some nice stories. I give Jess a lot of credit for pulling it together after receiving a lot of criticism from Professor Nicholson for not getting her Common Council story okayed by him earlier. I think it was a real important lesson for everyone to learn. You're going to get criticized in this business, pretty harshly sometimes. But you can't get down on yourself, you just need to learn from it and keep pushing through.
It was a huge help having Erika and Hannah, who had produced in past weeks, on the team with me to help me with the rundown and anything else I wasn't sure about. They even helped me write floaters when we were running a little short on time. I'm kind of a slow writer and as 4:10 approached I was definitely getting a little stressed so for them to give me a hand like that, I just really appreciated it.
Merav's phoner didn't go as smoothly as we thought it would because the Kentucky people weren't being particularly cooperative but she worked hard and eventually got a nice quote from someone at Hancock Airport. I thought she sounded very professional on the phone. She helped me edit a lot of the stories for the rundown too.
As for the newscast itself, I thought it went surprisingly well. Professor Nicholson's idea to drop the missing body story and keep the tease and the Connecticut Lottery kicker ended up being very good advice and we ended up being just about perfect for time. Merav did a nice job reading. Her speed was just about right and I don't remember her really stumbling over any words.
I'm not sure how great a job I did as a producer this first time but at least it's something I can draw some learning experiences from. I learned from Professor Nicholson that the rundown isn't something you just fill in at the end, you have to use it as a roadmap to guide the newscast.
It was definitely a team effort and definitely a lot of pressure. But you know what? I kind of liked the pressure and having all of that responsibility. I like the rush you get from working on a tight deadline and how satisfying it is when everything comes together at the end. I had a lot of fun today. Great job to everyone. Now ... let's get to the Final Four and do it again next week!

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