You might make a good producer if...

August 29, 2019 03:00

Being on TV can be a big motivator for wanting to pursue broadcast news as a career. But getting the news on TV takes many more hands, including the often unsung behind-the-scenes heroes of the newscast.

I decided it’s time to give a little love to producers, so I “took to Twitter” (you might be a producer if you cringe at that phrase!) to ask producers about their unique calling. I heard from so many producers who happened into a perfect career fit.

“My real ‘ah-ha’ moment happened while I was freelancing for ESPN,” says Lindsay Travis, Executive Producer at WKYT. “I had a headset on up in the booth and heard the producer calling the shots to a whole team of people. I got goosebumps and knew from that moment on that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

So why does it seem that there are always more producer openings than those interested in calling the shots off screen? WAVY10’s Robert Bennett, who’s been producing for more than 25 years, says, “The work load can also seem like a lot, but once a producer gets into a rhythm everything becomes second nature (with some curve balls that make it interesting during the day).”

Getting into the albeit unpredictable rhythm of producing takes specific skills. According to the producers I spoke with (thanks, all!) a good producer is:
  1. Curious
​​ “I think you have to be curious about everything. In our newsroom, producers pitch story ideas, read over reporter packages, and are constantly on the hunt to fill the beast that is our block of newscasts. I feel like we have to ask questions about everything.” – Lindsay Travis, WKYT
  1. Organized
If you’re the kind of person who makes lists for everything, keeps impeccable notes and is always looking for a way to make processes more efficient, you’ve got the organizations skills necessary to be a producer.
  1. Problem solving  
If you like puzzles or Legos, you probably have the problem solving skills to Tetras together a newscast. You’ll be able to “Learn how to make a rundown flow - tension and release!” as Kindle Biermann, KMBC, says, and “always, always have a story idea in your back pocket.”
  1. A juggler
“We producers juggle many different hats... and that’s why I love it.” - Matthew Sewell, NewsfeedNow & KARK

Time management, in particular, is a skill that can be developed, and it takes time and practice to be expert at “meeting deadlines and setting myself up for the day, so when huge breaking news hit 2 hours before my show, I was prepared,” says Biermann.
“I think that’s the toughest thing for any producer: just managing all of the moving pieces of your newscast.” – Lindsay Travis, WKYT
  1. Passionate about sharing history in the making and making your community better
I love being part of the process that gives people their news of the day. I love when I’m out and about and I overhear someone talking about a story they saw on my newscast. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the privilege that I have to deliver people info they need to know. – Shealyn Kirkman, EP, KARK & FOX16

“You can create a moment that a viewer will remember forever.” - Kindle Biermann, KMBC
  1. A leader and collaborator
Producers are important leaders in the newsroom who should thrive on bringing out the best in their teams and showcasing the talents of others.
“If you’d like to lead a newsroom one day, producing is the ideal track. It offers spontaneity, creativity, and responsibility.” - Wes Wilson, EP at KXAN
“You maybe the captain of the ship but you can’t set sail without your crew. Communication is key.” – Matthew Sewell, NewsfeedNow & KARK
  1. Driven by the adrenaline rush
Producers need to be able to work well under pressure. When you’re producing, especially a live event or show, expect “a lot of stressful planning, but there's nothing like that adrenaline rush the morning of!” says Brittney Cottingham EP at KFDX/KJTL.
Are you ready to give producing a try?



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