As I sat to write my first script for WVU News, all I felt was doubt. I didn’t know if this life is what I was cut out for or if I was any good at what I am doing. Executive Producer comes with a lot of new responsibilities that I have never had before. However, the first week of taping has now ended and I feel absolutely incredible.
I instantly realized that being Executive Producer is also a leadership role, which is not something abnormal to me. Everyone started coming to me with questions about what was going to be due, what diversity elements should they take on within their stories, and how to format a script. I was fearful of steering them all in the wrong direction. I am still trying to figure out the best way to do my own job, but I always do what I can to help.
Tuesday night rolled around, and everyone who made show gathered together to read through the script. It was the first time I had to lead something like that, and no one else had ever done a read through before. We worked out the kinks, and everyone got a feel for the flow of the show, which paid off the next morning when we went in for taping. I am getting a feel for how everyone reads the script, making it easier to write for them and walk them through the script as the semester continues.
I walked into the studio Wednesday knowing that this day would be filled with more pressure than most. The team has limited time, everyone is trying to learn how to operate equipment, and everyone wants to be their very best. We rolled into a few technical glitches. It took quite a few takes. However, for a first taping, I was very proud of everyone.
Afterwards, messages from my team came with encouragement and a big “thank you” for helping their get through taping. I felt incredible and confident that this is the job for me! I will continue to do whatever my team needs to be successful. There is obviously plenty of room for improvement next show, but it can only get better from here.
Well, that’s a wrap! The WVU News journey is officially over for my classmates and I. It feels just like yesterday when I walked into Professor Dahlia’s classroom and tried out for the Executive Producer position. Initially, I knew I wanted to take on this role and now that it’s the end of my WVU News road, I am so grateful for my opportunity.
As a tradition, the last newscast is a special edition show. This means that every reporter had to do a story on the same beat. Group 2’s beat was Education. Professor Dahlia was thrilled with each reporter’s story pitch and so was I. With the special edition show, as a producer I had to come up with a name for this week’s newscast. With the help of our TA, Karly, we came up with “WVU News goes outside the classroom.” Once I evaluated the packages on Thursday, I knew this would be our best newscast yet.
Thursday night was a bittersweet moment for me. It was the last time I would be critiquing packages for WVU News and I could not be any more proud of my reporters.
Most of the packages required little fixes so it was a very tough decision who made the cut for our last newscast. Madison, Rachel Magnone, Garrett, and Jen were who it came down to. As usual, Robby did sports and Brooke and Jordan were our main anchors. However, there was a change up this last show. Abby Lafferty, the Social Square anchor from Group 1, had to take on the Social Square position for Group 2. Rachel Elkins was very sick so both her, I, and all of group 2 appreciated Abby coming on Wednesday for taping.
Going into script writing came easy for me. However, I will never forget the first script I wrote and all time Professor Dahlia put into teaching me things I should and should not do. This last script was no different than my last script in that I moved pretty fast through it. I put my all into this script knowing it was my last and I truly think I came a long way from the first script to now.
There was another change this week. Professor Dahlia was at a Journalism conference in Las Vegas, so my final script would be sent to Karly. On Sunday, she revised it and there were minor changes for her to make. During Wednesday, Karly ran the show with the help of Alyssa and Andrew. The three of them did a great job as well as everyone both on and off set.
Taping went smooth and we were out at a reasonable time. It was another bittersweet moment for all my reporters and I. We all came a long way this semester and I have made some great friends as well as memories. However, I will not miss getting up early on Wednesday mornings.
Although I am relieved that WVU News is over, I will miss being a producer for this show. I have learned so much about not only how to produce but also things about myself. With that said, I am ready for the real world and I could not be more excited to see what’s in store for me! I could not thank Professor Dahlia enough for choosing me as an Executive Producer. I have loved every minute of it!
Well that is it. This crazy WVU News journey has officially ended.
It is crazy to think that I was so scared and nervous when I first started this ride and now in a just few short months it’s all over. Our last show was a special edition show, so every reporter had to do a story that somehow incorporated diversity. Professor Dahlia was sick the day of our news meeting, which made me a little nervous because I had to take the lead more to make sure all the stories were going to be worthy of being in the special edition episode.
Thursday night when all the reporters turned in their last packages, it was such a proud moment for me as their producer. Every package was SO GOOD! They required very little fixes if any and I really, really wished we could have picked all of them to be in the show because they all deserved to be. It ultimately just came down to who had the most diverse package.
Going in to script writing, I thought it was going to be harder than usual because every story was focused on diversity. It was actually a breeze and I finished writing in just under 4 hours! My first time writing the script took me over 6 so I was extremely happy about that.I didn’t know how I would feel going into our last taping. Would I be happy? Would I be sad? It was a little bit of both. I was definitely ready to film for the last time and excited that I wasn’t going to have to get up at 7 a.m. on Wednesday mornings anymore, but filming the show is always such a fun thing for me so I was a little sad that I wouldn’t get to have that sort of experience again. The taping was great! We finished in our shortest amount of time yet and came out with an awesome show.
Although I am relieved the stress and time commitment of being a producer is over, there is definitely a part of me that will really miss this experience and all the amazing people I met through it. I was so lucky to have the group that I did. They all taught me so much and I will always be amazed on how they were able to handle everything that was required of them as reporters. I don’t think I ever could’ve done what they did. Everybody in my group made my job as a producer easy. I would have never made it through the semester if it wasn’t for them. I will forever remember all the laughs and good times we had together.
I don’t think I will really know how much this experience has really done for me until I actually get in the real world and into a real job. That is when I think I will really be thankful for all that I was able to do and learn. I do know now that I don’t need to be scared of how I will handle anything in my future job because WVU News has prepared me for anything.
Four shows down, one show to go for Group 2! It is crazy for me to think that the semester is almost over and my time at WVU is coming to an end. This semester has by far been my hardest one. With that said, I have enjoyed each day of WVU News and I know I will truly miss it. I have developed a great relationship with Professor Dahlia and I have made friends in both groups. I am so thankful for this journey.Newscast 8 was another success for Group 2. However, I myself can admit that it was definitely tough getting back into the swing of things once spring break was over. I think my reporters will agree with me that senioritis is a real thing, yet all of my reporters made a strong come back. The story ideas for this week, specifically Rachel Elkin’s, Madison’s, and Jen’s were somewhat depressing. However, after I reviewed each package on Thursday night, I knew these three ladies would make show. With that said, every reporter’s package was great. It was a tough choice narrowing down who made show, however, something did stand out to me about each one of these lady’s packages. Rachel, Madison, and Jen all chose stories that had an emotional appeal. All three stories hit home in different ways.I have learned that people pay more attention to news that will affect them in some type of way. So, with the recent terrorist attack in Brussels, West Virginia dying as a state, and Alzheimer’s disease, it was no question that this show would hit home for some people.
After the decision was made and the show was planned out, I began my script writing. I have found the most efficient way to write my script is to do it immediately after my meeting with Karly on Friday mornings. Script writing is really beginning to come easy for me. Over the past few weeks, timing and planning out the perfect run down has been a challenge for me, but this week I nailed it! Every Sunday, while I am working at Outback, I constantly check my phone every couple minutes as I wait for that text from Professor Dahlia. After she revises my script, the anticipation is real! However, this Sunday I could tell how proud she was of me. She said this script was my best one and I timed out a perfect show! However, with good news comes bad news. There were some minor technical errors but nothing too big. I forgot a few CG’s here and there but I was very happy with my writing and content.
When Wednesday came, things were a little it different. Reporter Garrett Yurisko, who did a package on fitness apps held it down as Social Square anchor this week. Rachel Elkins, our Social Square Anchor was the top story for this newscast so she sat next to Brooke this week. Jordan Crammer, the Sports Anchor from Group 1 was one of our main anchors. And Josh Oyler and Tristan Webster from Group 1 also assisted Group 2 this week. With all this said, some roles were switched around in order to produce our Eighth Newscast. However, everyone on and off set did a great job this week. Without the help from Jordan, Josh, and Tristan, Group 2 would not have been able to produce such a great show. With only one show left, I am more than confident group two will finish out the semester on a high note.
One more show! I can’t believe I am typing those words. It seems like it was just a short while ago that I walked into room 103 to begin this crazy WVU News journey and now we are nearing the end. It has gone by so incredibly fast! I have loved every minute of it though.
It seems like every time it has been my time to produce this semester there is always some unusual circumstance that occurs. This time it was spring break. It is hard enough producing a show, but knowing we weren’t going to film the newscast that was being produced until after break made it somewhat harder. All the stories that the reporters worked on had to be evergreen stories so they would stay relevant over our long week off. I was impressed with what everyone came up with and excited to see the final outcomes.
There are many aspects of producing that I like, but being able to help my reporters has to be what I enjoy most. Part of being a producer is being readily avaible when a reporter asks. I discovered that while working on this last show. I planned on the day of writing conferences to sleep in a little, grab a cup of coffee, and be at the j-school in time for the first conference. That did not happen. When I first got the message from one of my reporters asking if I could help them film their stand-up before their conference later that day I really wanted to come up with an excuse not to do it. That is not how a producer should think. I want my reporters to succeed so I sucked it up and went to go help. I am glad I did! I talked him through what he should do and say for his stand-up and he was really appreciative of my help. It made me feel good.
Writing conferences get easier and easier every week. The reporters have all really grown throughout the semester and understand what is expected of them. This makes packages better and makes writing conference days a little less stressful. I was super impressed yet again with group 1’s packages and it was difficult to pick which ones to make show.
I was a little disappointed with how my script turned out. I was happy with the content, but I didn’t pay attention closely to detail so I missed some CGs and really messed up the cameras. That is something I still struggle with. When I was producing Mountaineer Playbook it was easy because there was only one camera, but WVU News has 3 different ones and I find it hard to know which camera needs to be used when. This is something I have to get better at because in the real world that is one of the producers main jobs.Taping was also a little bit different for this newscast because we didn’t have one of our usual main anchors. Some roles needed to be switched to help accommodate this. Everyone on set in the studio did an awesome job working through it and I think we came out with our best newscast yet! I can’t wait to see what the last show has in store for me.
Newscast 6 already? I swear each week goes by quicker and quicker. I cannot believe Group 2 just finished their third show. Going into this week, I was more than confident that this newscast would be Group 2’s best yet. Each time I am in the control room, I feel more comfortable as a producer. And every time I put on my head set, I realize what a great opportunity this really is.After our news meeting, I was really excited for this week’s show. Every reporter had a great story idea; so I had no doubt that this would be our best show yet. I was able to actually use one of my own story ideas for one of our reporters! Rachel Magnone, who is our crime reporter, did her story this week on Heroin Abuse. She and I had tossed this idea around for a few days until we decided she should go for it! She had asked me, “Molly what am I going to use for b roll?” and, “Who am I going to interview that would be willing to talk about their heroin addiction?” Initially, I asked myself the same questions until I really sat down and thought about how this could work.
Obviously, this past year heroin overdoses have been an epidemic throughout Monongalia County and all of West Virginia. With this said, I thought about everyone I knew. There had to be someone who could help Rachel. Then, I had the idea! I had met a boy from one of my classes who used to be a heroin addict. The biggest challenge now was would he be comfortable talking on camera to Rachel, someone he does not really know? And how would I ask him? Honestly, I had some anxiety about doing this until I saw a sign in Martin Hall. The sign said, “We talk to strangers in the Journalism School.” I was somewhat inspired by this sign. Although my friend was not a stranger, he was a stranger to Rachel. Regardless if I am behind the scenes or on camera, this is something every journalist must learn? to be comfortable talking to strangers. I can say this sign motivated me to overcome this challenge.
Once my friend agreed to talk to Rachel, I was so relieved. I felt like some weight had been taken off my shoulders. Not only was I happy that now she could put together a great story, but I was also happy that I could help her in doing so. A few months ago, I would not have been comfortable approaching anyone like this however; each week my reporters do a great job of this. After this, I would like to say I saved the day!
My good streak did not end here! With the help of Karly (our TA), Jen (my AP), Deborah (Group 1’s EP), and Professor Dahlia, I wrote a great script. Another great feeling was when Professor Dahlia texted me that it only took her one hour to critique my script. She then texted me, that I was finally getting the hang of this whole thing. I could not agree more. I really did surprise myself with how fast I got done with it. However, I still need to get better with my timing and run downs but overall, I would say it was a job well done.
Group 2’s taping went really well. Everyone, on camera and behind the scenes did a great job. We were out of the Waterfront early, which made everyone happy. Both my reporters and people behind the scenes are all feeling more comfortable with themselves. I have no doubt that Group 2’s fourth and fifth show will be just as great as this one.
With each passing week, I have become more and more comfortable in producer role. Everything is becoming more natural and easier for me. No week comes without its challenges though.I was really excited after my group’s news meeting. All the reporters had intriguing ideas so I left hopeful that they would be able to make their thoughts come to life and create great packages. We all got thrown for a little bit of a loop when Professor Dahlia e-mailed us and told us she wouldn’t be able to make it to writing conferences and each reporter would have to get their feedback via text. I don’t want to speak for my reporters, but I honestly think it made them have even better packages because they knew Professor Dahlia wouldn’t be there in person.
That night it was time to critique and pick packages for the show. This to me is probably where I am still struggling the most. I even got a call from Professor Dahlia telling me I was pretty much sucking at it haha. She talked me through her critiquing process and after our conversation I was able to get a better handle on critiquing and hopefully will improve for next time. I was super proud of my group and the packages they put together. They made it so hard to choose which ones would go in the show.Writing the script came pretty easily to me this time. I actually surprised myself how fast I got done with it. I was really confident in it and was super happy when Professor Dahlia said it was my best one yet! She made a few changes on it, but overall it was good. I still need to get better on my transitions and making them flow better. I have improved on researching topics and putting important stats and facts in the script.
My group’s taping went really well. I thought we all worked together nicely. The on-set anchors are getting more and more comfortable with each show. Starting out in the control room I was overwhelmed with all that I was supposed to. Keeping time, positioning anchors, and making on the fly script changes was a lot to handle, but with this show I went into it knowing I could handle everything, which made for a super smooth show.
I cannot believe Group 2 finished their second newscast. As a group, every person did a great job this week. The packages I received for this newscast were much better than the ones for our first show. Going into the week, I was ready to work hard and improve as an Executive Producer.
Thursday night Professor Dahlia was away for a conference. So, my Assistant Producer, Jen and I started to evaluate the packages on Vimeo as they came in. This week, Jen and I knew how important it was to stress things like consistent natural sound and the concept of, “say it see it.” However, after our first newscast, Professor Dahlia emphasized how important creative stand ups and sot teases were. With the help from Jen, I felt much more comfortable giving constructive criticism to every reporter. Overall, the two of us spent way more time watching each package than we did for our first newscast. After we watched each package several times, I felt I was really getting the hang of things. Each time I watched a package, I found myself looking for more and more ways on how each package could improve.The people who were on set for Group 2’s first show were also on set for the second show. Those on set, the anchors, Karly and I met the night before taping to rehearse the script. All in all, I felt more relaxed while writing this week’s script. For this show, I made sure to re write anchor lead ins and out cues. Professor Dahlia emphasized the significance of including specific statistics in the lead ins so I made sure to do my research as well! Everyone sounded great when they read over the script that night. I felt confident that I wrote the script as best as I could. There was no doubt in my mind that Group 2 would produce a great second newscast.
Aside from writing the script, I also worked on beat reports for this coming week. I am confident that each one of my reporters will have at least one strong story idea for our next show. However, in case anyone is struggling I know I can help. First, I walked around campus and hoped to find a story.
What I did not realize is? stories are everywhere! Regardless of what day of the week it is or what the weather is like, the news does not stop! My first story idea I found was in Brooks Hall on the bulletin board on the fifth floor. Hundreds of students pass this bulletin board everyday, however, not every student stops and reads the flyers posted on the board. I found a flyer for the Step It Up 5K event coming up next month at the Student Rec Center. You can still register for this event, which is why I think more people should know about the event.
Once we got into the studio and the cameras were on it was show time. Everyone on set and everyone behind the scenes made this show a success. We finished around 11:00 AM, which was earlier than our first newscast. Each person on set maintained high and positive energy during each taping. When I put on the headset for the second time that morning, I felt ready. I was a little nervous however, not as nervous as I was for our first show. I knew as an Executive Producer how important it was for me to continue to encourage everyone on my team to do his or her best regardless of their mistakes.
I knew what was expected of me at the start of the week so I immediately started preparing the best I could. I tried to improve on some aspects of my role this time around though. Professor Dahlia told me I needed to be better at getting news story ideas out to the reporters so I made a conscious effort when I saw something that peaked my interest to Tweet or e-mail it out to the reporter that covered that certain beat.
Going into writing conference, I was looking forward to seeing everyone’s packages and hoping they improved from last time so we had more to choose from to make show because we were under time by a lot for the first newscast. Professor Dahlia and I were happy with what we saw and were pretty positive that we would at least be able to get 5 packages from the group.
Once the packages were chosen and the show was planned out it was time for me to begin writing the script.
I feel like I had a little bit of a better time researching and making it more conversational. Unfortunately, I left off CGs and graphics off and didn’t realize it until I met with Professional Dahlia. I was mad at myself because if I just paid better attention while copyediting it wouldn’t have happened. I will definitely be sure to be more careful next time.
The day of group one’s second taping came and I was feeling confident that this was going to be a better show. Professor Dahlia was going to be out of town so the group wanted to do a good job to make her proud. We had to do 4 takes, but each one got better. Going in, there were not as many script changes that needed to be made and nothing had to be added or taken out due to us not being on time.I’m really proud of group 1 and how all of us pulled together to make this newscast better than the first.
After many days of hard work, Group 2 produced a great newscast! Initially, I was very nervous for our first show. I was lucky enough to shadow Deborah, Group 1’s Executive Producer, during their first newscast. During Group 1’s show, I watched Deborah and listened carefully to what she said to her anchors on set. I learned from Deborah the importance of motivating my anchors, as well as being able to give them constructive criticism. After being a part of Group 1’s newscast, I felt more comfortable that I would be able to produce a great show.Once I knew what my group would expect of me as an Executive Producer, I immediately put together a daily schedule that included all of my responsibilities. I figured this would be the best way to stay organized as a producer. After I mapped out the work I had to do each day, I thought of the most efficient way to manage my time in order to meet all of my deadlines. I also realized that Executive Producers do not have days off. On the days where I had free time, I planned to help my reporters shoot stand ups and answer any questions that I could. All of my hard work would eventually show on Wednesday mornings at 8:45, that is when we film at the Waterfront.
This past week I mostly worked on Group 2’s script. This was the first script I have ever written so I was nervous. I struggled the most with the rundown. The most confusing part about the rundown was making the times add up perfectly. However, after Professor Dahlia looked over my script, she cleared up my confusion. I learned that package time must have 15 seconds added to it, which represents the anchor lead in. With this said, I am more confident that my second script will be even better than my first script.
A major thing I need to put more time into is my research. One of the Executive Producer’s responsibilities is to research facts and statistics about whatever the package is talking about. Professor Dahlia said many of the facts I included in anchor lead ins were very generic. With this said, I learned the importance of researching specific information that has to do with each package.One thing I did a great job on this week was encouraging my reporters. Both in and out side of the studio, I did my best to be a positive influence for my reporters. Outside of the studio, I tweeted many possible story ideas for my reporters. Inside the studio, I spoke to my anchors through the head set and told them things like, “Finish strong!” and “Great job!” After the taping of our show, many of the anchors thanked me for my positive attitude. I felt very proud that my anchors believed in me and could rely on me for support.
Overall, Group 2 did a terrific job on their first newscast. For our next newscast, I plan to continue to encourage all of my reporters with my positive spirit. I also plan to improve the research I do for whatever packages make show. I have no doubt I will put together another amazing show with the help of my group! I am very excited to continue to work hard on our next newscast.
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