• Producing 101

    Introduction to Producing

    Producers have many jobs in the newsroom.

    When advertising for a producer opening, News Directors often say they don’t want a “story stacker.”  Instead, they’re looking for men and women who can write well, make good news decisions quickly, manage people and help generate story ideas, while helping reporters shape their stories.

    In some cases, producers act as liaisons between reporters and station management.  In some cases producers serve as coaches.  In other cases, producers act as auxiliary research assistants or “go-fers” in helping a reporter find valuable information for a story.  Good producers know that their job is to do whatever is necessary to get a good quality “news product” (journalism) on the air.

    Usually, before a producer is mature enough to handle the many responsibilities of the job.. the producer must FIRST be able to look at a variety of sources for news content and evaluate that content and how best to present it.  At a minimal level, producers must figure out how to stretch the news to fill the time allotted.. or how to squeeze the news of the day into the time allotted.

    In a typical half hour newscast at KOMU-TV your newshole is what’s LEFT after you take out time for: Commercial breaks, Weather, Sports, Teases and Anchor chat time or flop.

    In time: 5:59:05

    Out time: 6:29:23

    30:18 is the amount of time we start with.. let’s round off to: 30:15
    subtract commercials 10:40 = 19:35
    subtract sports 4:00 = 15:35
    subtract wx 4:30 = 11:05
    subtract chat/teases 2:30 =10:35

    And.. lets say you have a 3:30 package in your C block that’s a KOMU Cares segment.

    That leaves you approximately 5 minutes of time to fill in your News segment (A block)

    Imagine you are producing a newscast today and the assignment editor has given you the following list of stories.  You have just two reporters for the day.  You must decide:

    1. Which stories will you assign to your reporters?
    2. Which story will you lead with?
    3. Which story/stories will you ignore entirely?
    4. How else can you fill the 5 minutes of news?


    Columbia Country Club: Yesterday the club voluntarily reversed its century old policy excluding women.

    School Bond Issue: The schools want to raise money to build more buildings to alleviate overcrowding.  They’re proposing a bond issue for the election which comes in just one week.  A  citizens against taxes group will hold a rally against the bond issue tonight.

    Ethanol Fuel: The corngrowers association is holding a luncheon where they’re expected to talk about benefits of ethanol fuel.  (Coincidentally.. Triple A says gas prices are going to shoot through the roof this summer.)

    Road Blocks: A Jefferson City resident is suing the police saying that its policy of setting up roadblocks leads to “entrapment of decent civilians”

    Princess Gowns: A tour of Diana’s gowns comes to Columbia with a local club auctioning off one to benefit the Shelter which houses abused women.

    House Fire: An early morning house fire burns a building to the ground.

    Dog licensing: The city council voted last night to triple the fee involved in obtaining a dog license, which is required for all dog owners living within the city limits.

    Suicide: A body was found hanging in Peace Park.

    Privacy: A citizen’s watchdog group looking into maintenance of Medicare records is charging that privacy is being breached every day: “Sensitive medical data are being spooled out on the Internet without regard to patient privacy, “ the group leader says.

    School pipes: A water main breaks underneath Mill Creek Elementary School.  Students are evacuated and stand outside for several hours before officials finally call it a day.

    Robbery: Two men rob a grocery store.  They get away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

    Gun Control: A state lawmaker has introduced a bill in the Missouri house to reduce wait time for handgun registration.

    Veterans: A vocal group of 15 Iraq war veterans protested at the courthouse today saying Missouri congressional representatives aren’t doing enough to extend vets’ benefits

    ----------Posted on May 7, 2009 by in Help Files

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