Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Wanna Be a Producer! Or do I...?

For my night side producer shadow, I shadowed Becca Habegger and Alex Carbello. I worked mostly with Becca but I also spent time with Alex while Becca was busy doing other things. When I asked Alex what the responsibilities of a producer are he simply said “everything.” And then when he stopped to think about it, he decided that a producer is really responsible for almost everything. And as I paid attention to what Becca did, she really had a lot of responsibilities. Becca had to keep track of reporters, which ended up being more of a challenge than I expected. They called her all night, and if they didn’t she had to call them and make sure everything was going okay. She had to make sure their story ideas were good enough. Two reporters had their stories fall through so she had to help them find better story idea.
Another major responsibility of the producer is creating the rundown. This is very important because it determines what the newscast will be. The producer decides what news will go in the newscast. Especially when it is a late cast, the producer has to decide which older pieces from earlier newscasts should be run again. The producer decides where the different news stories go. She/he has to put them in the order that they will appear in the newscast, and it has to be a logical order. The only thing that Becca really didn’t have to touch was the sports block. She didn’t worry about it. Sports decides how they want to use the time they are allotted. Becca also did a lot of writing. I had no idea that she was going to have to do that.
During the newscast, back in the control room, the producer’s job becomes really stressful. The pressure is really on. The producer has to make sure that the newscast is running at the right time. If the newscast is over time, the producer has to decide which stories to drop. Then, she/he has to communicate these changes to the anchors. Becca changed the newscast so that Eric Blumberg cut to break instead of the anchors, and they got a little confused. If you are a reporter and you are in doubt of what you are doing, you can go to iNews. The producer puts the reporters jobs in iNews. Or if you are still confused, just ask!
Alex said that the most important thing he learned since coming to the station is to not be afraid to speak up, in terms of asking questions and expressing your feelings. If you have a certain stance on a story, you need to be able to let the producer know, in a polite way. And you need to be able to ask questions. Lauren Styler also emphasized this. They both said that being able to ask questions is important. Becca said that it’s better to ask a question that you think is stupid than have something stupid go on air. The most common mistake the reporters make is not asking questions and not communicating. Alex said the hardest part of his job is dealing with a different set of reporters everyday. Because of this, they require more attention and you don’t know them as well.
The producer has a big job and a lot of people to keep track of. The best way for reporters to help producers do their job is to stay on time. This doesn’t just mean arriving at the station when you say you will, it pertain to the length of your package. If you are allotted 1.10, then you should stick with it. But, if you should go over or under your time, let the producer know as soon as possible.
So how does one know whether or not they should be a producer? The way I see it, you have to gauge this for yourself. If you are very uncomfortable in front of the camera, then you would be better suited for producing. Producers have to be “control freaks” said Alex. The other thing to consider is which you like more- reporting or producing. I found my producer shadow very interesting, but I think I would rather be a reporter.

Monday, September 21, 2009


In an effort to explore alternative sources of media, I decided to take a look at Little Green Footballs. The first thing that struck me was the conversational writing. I would even go so far as to say it went beyond being conversation to being colloquial at times. This is the kind of blog I could see my peers really enjoying. The stories are shorter and much easier for someone who doesn’t consume a lot of news to digest.
I think this blog effectively uses the advantage of being online. The links are very helpful and I think the enhance the stories. They have random quotes that break up the stories. Looking at older posts, I found a video form the Onion website. It’s fun to see that the author has a sense of humor. I also found bite from the Rush Limbaugh show. All of the different types of media keep readers coming back to see what’s next and prevents them from being bored. The structure of the pages makes it less intimidating than a large article. It looks like the author is having a conversation with you and only you.
The way I see it, blogs give their authors a chance to expand their horizons from just writing. They can put their opinion in and use multimedia and links that increase their readers' thirst for news

Just me and my shadow

On Thursday, September 3, I went to shadow a reporter at KOMU. Christine Slusser and I went to Centralia, Missouri to report on one man’s struggle with wheelchair accessibility in his town. It was an amazing story and I had a great time covering it. The people that we needed to interview were all very willing to speak with us, which made it a lot easier. They were really friendly and open in sharing their stories. It was an extremely visual story, which made shooting very interesting. One thing that Christine taught me was to start and stop the camera between every interview question. It makes uploading the video into Avid a lot easier. This also helped when we did the subclipping. Subclipping is when you take one of your clips and put in and out points on it before you export it into Avid.
The one thing she said she wishes she knew before she started working at KOMU was that she wanted to know how to work the cameras. The most important thing that Slusser has learned since she got to the station is to check your camera; make sure your sounds was on, etc… I had a scare about this the other day while filming my package and I’m so glad I had this tip from her. Another thing Slusser did a really good job of was keeping in contact with her producer. We called the producer when we were on our way, when we got to Centralia, in between two of our interviews, and on our way home. Slusser said that when she had a confusing story that needed clearing up, she asked her producer for help and they walked her through it.
When we got back and went into iNews, in Slusser script, it said that they had made her a graphic. They were going to put up a map to show the location of Centralia. If you need to have a graphic made, she told me that you should go ask a producer and have in mind (or a drawing) or what you want it to look like. Two other new things I found out about are bins and NRCS. To check your bin, go to Avid then hit today’s date, create a new bin and look under your name. If you want to use NRCS, go into the toolset, find the NRCS tool, click story, and export! All in all, I thought this was a really good experience and I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot of things that I will definitely apply in Broadcast II and beyond. The way I see it, it is important to do shadow shift and take baby steps before jumping right in!
Here is the link to the online version of the story Slusser and I worked on:


For my first post ever, I think I should define what journalism is. We spend so much time in class talking about journalism, titling ourselves as journalists. So what is it?
“The profession of reporting or photographing or editing news stories for one of the media.”
“Journalism is the production of news reports and editorials through media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the internet.”
“A collection and editing of news for presentation through the media.”
Webster’s Dictionary:
“The work of gathering, writing, editing, and publishing or disseminating news, as through newspapers and magazines or by radio and television.

But the way I see it, journalism is so much more than news gathering. Journalists are storytellers. Journalists are truth tellers. Journalists are responsible for creating the first draft of history. And broadcast journalists? Well, they tell these stories with their words, the voices of others, sounds, and pictures.
This blog will tell my story as a journalist.