Producing In-Depth

Wow.  What a week.

Homecoming is always a whirlwind week – all the alums, the parties, the football.  But this year – for me – it was so much more.

This post serves not only as a thanks to those of you who made it out to be part of our live studio audience for NewsWatch In-Depth: The Changing Media Landscape, but also to give you all some insight into what went into getting that beast of a program from idea to on-air.

Stacked on Deck

Cheri Russo approached me about producing the next NewsWatch In-Depth over the summer.  She already had a rough idea of what we would do – at this time, the WOUB Alumni Society had already locked in most of the major players in the Homecoming weekend reunion.  She wanted to take the opportunity to use our high-profile alums to talk about the state of our industry.  It’s somethingI find journalists don’t do often or very well…at least not to non-journos.

We had Martin Savidge, Chris Guarino and Alan Miller.  There were others who wanted to join in, but couldn’t make it.  In the end, our panel looked and sounded great!  But securing all our members was a challenge – it took until September to finalize it all.

Do it All

I never realized before how much went into one such production.  Before event the graphics, music or set could be completed, we needed a title, a focus and background research.  I still have the folder in my bookmarks of all the websites and articles that I used to research the numbers for social media use, job cuts and changing reader/viewership, and broadband expansion.

Once we had a focus and I had my background numbers, it was time to get a logo, graphics, animations, promos and a webpage.  As a producer, it’s all up to you – and you have final say on the details.  It’s often said that producing is all about the details and make no mistake, you don’t notice them all until the very end.

A producer must coordinate the package shoots and make sure all of the roll-in videos are shot and edited (just ask me about editing them just minutes before our run-thru).  You must also make sure the technical crew is on the same page as you – you all need the same vision for the program.  Especially when your program runs for nearly an hour…without any breaks.

In the Booth

After two scary rough run-thrus, I wasn’t sure we’d make it on air in an acceptable fashion.  But eventually it becomes clear that you have to trust your team.  Despite panicking for days and hours beforehand, the control room was totally relaxed as we rolled into the open animation – all hoping it wasn’t just the calm before the storm.

For those of you who weren’t in the audience, I’ll spoil the ending.  I’m incredibly proud of this program – in my eyes, it is nearly flawless.  Leah, the director, and then entire crew were on the same page the entire hour.  Every camera movement was quick and purposeful, the audio sounded great (which is one heck of an accomplishment for using seven mics).

On-Air

Overall, In-Depth was one huge learning experience for me.  I think it was for all the parties involved as well – the panelists had a blast and the audience seemed to really enjoy the discussion.  And, like I said, I’m damn proud of this program.

So if you haven’t already, please take a look…and enjoy NewsWatch In-Depth: The Changing Media Landscape below.

Evan
OU RTDNA Vice President
@EvanMillward

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