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Old August 23rd, 2003, 06:50 PM   #1
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What does a *News Producer* do?

On a lark, I went down to the local ABC affiliate, and left an application. One of their top brass yanked me into his office and chatted me up, trying to convince me to take the News Producer position. I have no idea what a news producer IS, much less what they do.

I have zero experience. The guy said "sometimes we hire talent, and let them gain experience."

I dunno. I can't stand to even WATCH the local anchor people, much less work around them.

What does a NP do? What kind of nightmare would I be in for?
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 07:01 PM   #2
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Ted,
Your story sounds like the first episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show from the 1970's.

I'm sure someone here who's worked in tv news will be able to give you a good answer. My impression is that it's a "coordinative" role, basically making sure that the stories of the day are covered by crews and reporters and that segments are ready to roll by air time. This can be a very stressful job, as you take the blame for every screw-up. I'm sure it can teach you some excellent planning skills and expose you to a quite a bit of the media business. Like so many other jobs in every industry it can probably be a gem if you approach it properly.

Good luck with that!
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 07:19 PM   #3
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You would be in charge of the whole thing. Putting the show together and making decisions on what it looks like and how it runs. For someone with no knowledge I'm shocked it was offered.
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 10:37 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Belics : You would be in charge of the whole thing. Putting the show together and making decisions on what it looks like and how it runs. For someone with no knowledge I'm shocked it was offered. -->>>

HA! Me too! I did more digging around. It'd be a nightmare of a job. I donna wannit.

However, PRODUCING stuff sounds up my alley. But not the nightly news.

Geez, if I were the NP, you'd see different stories FER SURE. Glad I'm not!

Thanks guys!
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Old August 24th, 2003, 09:34 AM   #5
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After working in TV news for many years, your post brings back a lot of bad memories.

I think you've made the right decision. Why would a quality organizaton want someone in that position with no experience...they wouldn't.

It's possible they're in such bad shape they can't keep anyone around who's actually qualified.

Your statement about local news anchors made me smile. They certainly are an interesting group of people.

Suffice to say, if you can't stand to watch them on TV, you certainly don't want to work with them.

Talk with anyone experienced in TV news and they'll have lots of stories about the anchors.

Mike Avery
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Old August 26th, 2003, 07:15 PM   #6
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Ted,

The above statements are dead-on.

I directed medium and major market news for 15 years. I have worked with some awesome producers, and some awful ones. The good ones understood what really was "The Big Story", how to incorporate that into a watchable product, and from my point-of-view, how their preparation before and during the broadcast affected myself and the other members of the production crew. The bad producers could sink a show faster than a torpedo. My favorite types were the ones that would decide to kill the next 4 stories as the anchor was taking the breath to begin delivering the next 4 stories.

Rant mode off. The job of the line producer was to work with the assignment desk, reporters, news execs and others to decide what stories were to be covered, how they were to be covered - reporter package from the field, live reporter wrap-around, VO with anchor reading over the video, etc. After that was decided, the producer would start building the rundown. This, in theory, was how the broadcast was going to look on the air. The producer would decide the order of the stories, which anchor would deliver the story, the graphics used over the shoulder, if the story warrented a live shot from location, that would be indicated on the rundown as well as what type of video or graphic elements, if any, would accompany the story. The producer should be in communication with the art department for any graphic needs, as well as keeping the director informed of any changes or things out of the ordinary. Well, the good ones would at least.

For an early evening newscast these decisions would be made before the anchors arrived at work. The afternoon production meeting with the anchors would discuss the aforementioned, and perhaps any "developing stories" that would throw a monkey wrench into their wonderfully-crafted masterpiece. Of course, the larger the market, the more the anchors would have a say. If I had a dollar for every time the rundown changed because the anchors thought it should be different, I could retire a very wealthy man.

Different stations work in different ways, but basically, once the show is on the air, the director is now allegedly in control. On a day where things are going well, the producer will just make sure the stories are ready to air when they're supposed to, babysit the talent, and depending on how the shop is run, keep in touch with the live crews and make sure they are ready to go.

I am more than surprised that the station you visited offered you a producing job with no experience. AVOID THAT PLACE LIKE THE PLAGUE!! I'll bet is the 3rd or 4th rated in the market, isn't it?

Oh, the stories I could tell.

HTH,

Bill
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