Producers are the original multi-taskers in the newsroom. There’s so much going on in a typical producer’s day, so many tasks and demands, that it takes a special kind of person to get it all done correctly and on time. Even the most organized producers sometimes find themselves scrambling to keep things on track. To help you stay on top of the job, try backtiming your day the way you would a newscast. These tips were adapted from a guide by Holly Edgell, executive producer at KOMU-TV in Columbia, Mo., who suggests that producers divide the day into three parts:
PART I – Hours 1-3
- Check log and adjust commercial breaks as necessary
- Review HFR schedule and day-turn story assignments and discuss split with adjacent newscast producer (if any)
- Go to network feed & CNN rundowns and look for possible franchise stories. Select package and 2-3 V/O stories. Preview the stories to check video and other quality issues.
- Review AP, CNN and network news sources and make preliminary selection for national news
- Review state wires for any important state news
- Enter your choices for the above in your rundown, including stories from reporters
- Touch base with reporters to see how stories are shaping up; find out if graphics are needed for PKGs; other reporter needs
PART II – Hours 4- 6
- Review daily newspaper online to see if any coverage has been missed. Do the same for the wires AGAIN. Review web sites for major market affiliates in the region.
- Begin to write franchise stories; write teases for these segments
- Begin to write your national and state/regional stories
- Decide on graphics and finalize graphics requests
- Determine live shots; on-set; or weather-wall elements as needed
- Do a communication check! Visit with (or call) your director, weather, adjacent newscast producer, online editors, and check again on reporters.
- Provide online editors with information for links and additional content on the Web site
- Make rundown adjustments as needed after afternoon story meeting with EP and other producers.
PART III – Hours 7-9
- Finish writing your teases
- Check to make sure anchors have written their assigned segments
- Select and write stories for headlines and recaps
- Add late-breaking national news updates to your selected stories as needed
- Survey reporter scripts to make sure all director cues and graphic cues are correct
- Make sure the Web editors have all their links and other information tied to stories in the newscast
- Print scripts at :15 before the hour
- Go to the booth!