About this blog

The Producers’ Blog provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making a successful television newscast. From deciding what stories go into the newscast, to writing the script, to working with reporters on their stories, the producer is largely responsible for making sure the show has good content, is well edited and that it ends on time.

Our blog will show you the process of putting together a newscast as it unfolds. Our producers will share their successes and struggles as they work on deadline with the rest of the news team. They will also share additional content that didn’t make air because of time constraints.

We encourage you to comment on the blog or through our Twitter conversation at: #WVUNews.


Recent Articles


WVU News, Producers' Blog
3 Dec
Authored By Jackson | December 3rd, 2016

I can’t believe this is my last time writing this blog. It’s crazy how fast the semester has gone by. Preparation for our Special Edition Show was crazy, but I couldn’t have asked for a better group to end this season strong.

A high school student observes the taping. This show had to be approached differently for many reasons: it was the last show of the season, we had Thanksgiving Break in the middle of our preparation time, and (most importantly) we were honoring the victims of 9-11 and talking about how our country has changed.

As usual, we pitched stories for the week, but all were focused on remembering September 11, 2001. I knew that this show was going to be somber but important and it was important that we communicate that through our show. Working on the final stories. Everyone did a fantastic job on packages this week. I knew this was going to be a great show! Once we made the hard decision of whose stories to use, we went to break.

Having a week off was nice, but it felt weird to have so much time off during our preparation. The script was done early, and it was a lot easier to write this week. Before we went to break, Professor Dahlia described this show as a book with each story as a different chapter. All the stories were connected. This advice helped a lot, and I worked to make the show one continuous story.

Working with the anchors at the last taping. The taping went by fast. Special thanks to Jaclyn, Ashley, Quinn, and Kristen for lending a hand! The reporters did a great job staying with the serious tone of the show while still engaging our audience. I went through the week thinking I would be sobbing by the end of the show, but it just felt so quick. It was also great to have a high school student join us. Getting to show others what we do reminded me how special this opportunity has been.

This opportunity has been incredible. I am so thankful for the skills I have acquired this semester. I feel like I have become a better writer and leader as the shows have gone on, and I can only hope the other members of my team feel the same way. A great team. I am so thankful for the support of Group 2. I couldn’t ask for a more incredible group of people to work with! They’ve done amazing work and should be proud of all they’ve accomplished.

I lastly want to thank Gina Dahlia for her guidance this semester. I couldn’t have done it without her.

Thanks for reading this blog. I wish the best for the future producers of WVU News.

20 Nov
Authored By Jackson | November 20th, 2016

My final show as an Executive Producer for WVU News is officially complete. The past two weeks were filled with nothing but hard work toward our special edition show, Heroin and Opioids: When Addiction Hits Home. Most people had their story idea weeks in advance, making a smooth transition into the start of show preparations. People had ideas for creative stand-ups and SOT teases, and everyone showcased their talents in their packages.

IMG_6846 Picking stories for the show was difficult this time around. All of the stories were important and were important to tell, and with this show being our group’s last, everyone has become great reporters that really know what they are doing. By the end of the day, we had five packages and two VO’s to put in the show. This is a lot of information for one of our newscasts, but I knew we could pull it off. From this point, I was ready to write the script.

IMG_6845 This particular script was difficult to write, and I do not mean that logistically. It was hard reading all of these statistics about how people in the state of West Virginia are battling with heroin and opioids. I became invested in this particular script because I wanted to make people aware of the problem. I want people to know how these drugs are affecting people and that there is help out there for those who need it. I took great care of this script, and it ended up being the best one I have had all semester. I felt proud of this script and the power I had to spread awareness of this growing problem.

IMG_6851 The day of show was our best yet. The show was packed with news, and we had an awesome news bumper our Graduate Assistant, Kassy, made for us. However, that did make our time cut very close to credits. Professor Dahlia and I had to edit down a lot of content to hit our time limit that same morning. We made it work just like we always do. We ran through our entire studio time trying to perfect it, so we could submit it for competitions. Everyone put their best foot forward, and with a little bit of coaching for my anchors, they pulled off some of their best reads I have seen all semester.

IMG_0874 I have appreciated every opportunity this class has offered me to learn and improve my skills. The next show I get to produce will start a new chapter in my life, as I move on to producing for WJAC in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Professor Dahlia has given me all the opportunity and guidance I need to be successful in my new job. The class also gave me the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make some really awesome new ones. The newsroom brings people together. My team has become like family, and I will miss having them around. I loved this position so much, and I will miss it dearly.

12 Nov
Authored By Jackson | November 12th, 2016

I can’t believe we only have one show left! It’s crazy how fast the semester has gone by.

News Meeting The week began we our news meeting. We had a lot of great ideas as always, including some stories I care greatly about. It was business as usual for our news team, but the week became interesting due to events outside of Group 2.

My favorite part of show preparation was the service dog story, not because I helped with its creation but because I am part of the program. I hadn’t needed to film a SOT TZ before, so it was fun to watch the process unfold for Shannon. In the end, I had to look at all the stories equally and avoid my bias?but it was still fun to see the program featured.

This week was a good lesson about bias for me, and maybe some others as well. We did not cover the election (mainly because the results came out the night before our taping). However, you could definitely feel the tension from all of us as the week went on. No matter how you felt about the election results, you had to shake it off and focus on our jobs as reporters.

Read through One thing to keep our mind off of things was a read-through in the fresh air outside Martin. It was nice to spend our election day outside of the edit lab. It was also fun to see the strange looks people gave us as they walked through Woodburn Circle.

After a late night watching election results, I headed to the studio early to prepare for our taping. Everyone had to ignore their feelings about the election and put on their reporting game faces. It was good practice for the real news business, as you can’t let personal feelings get in the way of factual reporting.

Visitors at the newscast On a side note, it was fun to have some perspective students join us for the taping! Outside of our reporters and technical crew, no one had seen Group 2 in action and it was fun to show the students what they could be doing in the future. We really do have an amazing program at WVU!

Overall, it was another successful show and I am so grateful for my group and all that we’ve accomplished over the semester. There is still a lot of work to do but I know our Special Edition show will be a great one!

4 Nov
Authored By Jackson | November 4th, 2016
IMG_6754 One thing WVU News has brought me is the opportunity to work in the edit lab. Working in the edit lab may be my favorite part of my week. I get to help people with their WVU News scripts, editing in premiere, and helping them go beyond their potential. I like having that sneak peak into what people are working on for the show, whether it is in my group or not. I know the help I am offering can make conferences easier for Professor Dahlia and my classmates.

IMG_6755 Picking stories for show is getting easier as the semester goes on. Either people had a few mistakes or fewer, or they just didn’t make show. This time, almost everyone had a sequenced and/or creative stand-up’s and SOT teases. They are fun to watch, and they keep people engaged in the stories they are telling. All of that set aside, we were able to critique all of the stories earlier than ever before. The team is uploading quickly and correctly, and that makes for a good week for everyone.

IMG_6755 The pressure was on for this shows script because Professor Dahlia wouldn’t be the one proofing it. I know this is what I will be doing after graduation in December, but I still like to have her expertise looking at it before we put it on air. My scripts are constantly improving, but I am still not perfect by any means. I am still focusing on more creative lower-thirds and making smoother transitions between stories. Although it did not get looked at the way it normally does, I am still pretty proud of this script.

IMG_6756 For this show’s read through, I decided to get a little stricter with how the anchors were reading. In the past during taping, we typically need to have another reading, so the anchors sound more energetic and “newsy.” With a little motivation this time through, they were reading just the way I wanted them to read for show the next morning. It proved to be helpful for the following morning when an anchor being able to read was on the bottom of the priority list with all of the problems we encountered.

IMG_6756 Taping this week was more hectic than normal. Professor Dahlia was out sick for this taping, and we had guests in the studio. Students from a different journalism class came to observe our group in the studio. However, everyone’s plans were put on hold when the fire alarm went off at the Waterfront. The team and I hiked down the Rail Trail to wait for it to end. By the time we were back in the studio, we were tight on time to get a great take. It was really tough calling the shots without guidance from Professor Dahlia, but everyone really came together to make another suitable show. We will be happy to have her back next week, but it is nice to know that we can really put a show together on our own.

29 Oct
Authored By Jackson | October 29th, 2016

This week was kind of crazy. We are in the middle of our shows and we are on our game when it comes to getting good stories!

I also was a little under the weather, and realized just how great Group 2 is at getting the job done without needing to be asked. I am very fortunate to get to work with such a great team!

Interviewing the Chief After I posted my last blog, I was on the town shooting part of a story on the “Creepy Clown” crimes that have been occurring all over the world. Aside from Studio B, it had been a little while since I had been out shooting a story, and it was fun to join Taylor for the interview. It was also nice to sit back and see the great job she did conducting the interview. I knew it was going to be a great story, and it was.

Taylor and several others pitched their stories for the week earlier, but we still had an official meeting to discuss them on Monday. As always, there were a lot of good ideas, and with Professor Dahlia’s help we were able to come up with the best ones for our reporters to work on.

Story Pitches Later in the week, we took a look at the progress our reporters had made, and decided who would get to be on the show for that week. I always enjoy getting to tell people their hard work paid off, but it can be disheartening to tell someone that theirs didn’t. In the end, though, it’s all about helping them become even better reporters, and I knew from the start that it was in my job description to do so.

Finishing Up Stories Another few days, and the script was written and our reporters were back finishing their stories for show! I couldn’t believe how fast the week seemed to go. I felt like we had just finished pitching stories! Once everyone was done, we went over the script and were ready for our next taping!

I’ve found that I have a routine for every taping: get there, check on the reporters that are already there, distribute documents to everyone, make any last minute teleprompter changes, pace for a few minutes, and then hop in the chair and wait to get the show rolling.

I’ve been getting used to working with our director, Nate. It’s funny because we have such different approaches to instructing the people on set. He has to be quick on his feet when talking to the crew to make sure everything (camera, graphics, etc.) is where it needs to be. I am the calmer one, guiding our talent to give the best reads possible. The main difference in the control room is that he has to yell, and I have to get louder than intended sometimes, just to make sure I’m heard. It’s not a bad thing, though. It keeps the much-needed energy alive.

End of Show 6! We got the show done in fewer takes than ever before! It shows how far we’ve come and how far we intend to keep going. It’s crazy to think that we only have two shows left, but I know they’re going to be great ones!

22 Oct
Authored By Jackson | October 22nd, 2016
IMG_6441 My group is over halfway done with WVU News. These past two weeks have been the best we have had so far. I even got a chance to see group two in action. I worked a camera for them, and it was an interesting experience. It is cool to see how they work together differently from my group, and at the same time, we all do things the same. They just have different chemistry. It was a fun experience, but watching them made me more excited for my group’s next newscast. I find myself missing the studio the weeks we are not in it.

IMG_6528 The team seems to be getting better about sequence stand-ups and creative SOT teases. It made deciding who would make show very easy. People are getting creative, and I love seeing how everyone thinks. We have hit a point in the semester where everyone knows what they are doing. There are always few mistakes in packages, if there are any. I am always grateful when my team asks for my help while filming. I like the practice, and I enjoy spending time with them outside of the newsroom and edit lab, places I find myself more often than not.

IMG_6557 I felt this script in particular was one of the better-written ones I have done. I am starting to get the hang of getting the point while sounding conversational. That is important during a newscast, especially in keeping the audience with you. Sometimes I find it hard to incorporate statistics along with keeping it conversational. However, in the small amount of time I have spent as Executive Producer, I have grasped many skills I didn’t have just months ago. My goal this week is to make everything perfect and have no technical fixes and few, if any, written fixes.

IMG_6570 The read through on Tuesday was a little bit chaotic. Between every read, my anchors were trying on what they wanted to wear for show in the morning. We spent an hour reading the script and making outfit changes. A lot of teamwork was required to get all the different clothes they needed, along with making the show sound great and making people familiar with the script. It became a sort of read through and fashion show all in one. It is nights like these that I remember how much fun I have working with my team! There is never a dull moment with any of them.

IMG_6567 Taping this week was good, but energy levels were lower than normal. The weather has been dreary and everyone is getting over being sick, myself included. We also had a few more technical difficulties than normal. However, by the end of the show, everyone seemed excited and ready to move on with new story ideas. I hope that excitement rolls over into our fourth taping. We finished the show at a decent time, and I was very happy with our final results. Two more shows is all we have left. Everyone will only continue to get better!

15 Oct
Authored By Jackson | October 15th, 2016

I can’t believe Group 2 has already done our second newscast! This week feels like it went by so fast, and I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made!

Watching our first show! We started out the week with a news meeting to discuss story ideas for Newscast 4. We began by watching our first show, and it felt great to watch it together! The room was filled with pride, but also determination to get the upcoming show even better. Once stories were decided, we sprang into action and I knew this was going to be good.

We reconvened Thursday for conferences and critiques. Our group set a record for how early they completed their packages! It was time for me to lead critiques and I was pleased with how well they went. Professor Dahlia is great at teaching the process, and between myself, Jackson Lilly, and Shannon Cunningham, we were able to help our reporters make great packages even better!

Preparing for our Studio B taping One of my favorite parts of being a producer is when I get to tell reporters their hard work paid off and they are going to have their story on our show! Announcements were made Friday morning, and that afternoon I assisted in filming the second story from our new Studio B! WVU News was already Emmy award-winning, but I see it evolving more and more as opportunities arise, and I am so proud to be a part of it! Reading through a new script After we filmed, I began work on the script. Writing the script was much easier this time around. With Professor Dahlia’s guidance, I am getting better and better! Once it was done, I met with our anchors and on-set reporters for a read through. It wasn’t long before we were ready for set!

Talking to our anchors during the taping Wednesday came, and I surprised myself by not being very nervous. We had everything we needed, and were ready to go! I felt comfortable in the control room and instructed our reporters as we went through tapings. We had a great team behind the scenes, and before long we had a show!

Overall, this week showed me how much things can change in a short amount of time. Having a show already past us gave me the knowledge and confidence I needed to make this newscast even better! I am so thankful for everyone who has supported me so far, and so proud of our team! However, news never sleeps and we are already working towards our next “best show yet.”

8 Oct
Authored By Jackson | October 8th, 2016
image3 As another week passes, I have seen much improvement in myself and in my team. A big trend our reporters had this week was getting creative with their stand-ups, mainly with sequence stand-ups. I was able to even help our anchor, Kristen, come up with and shoot her stand-up this week. It worked well, and I find experiences like this are only helping my ability to work the camera. I am finally getting the hang of operating the camera in a way that looks professional on air. Although I am no videographer, now I am more confident in abilities to shoot.

Later in the week came critiques, and I had to take the reigns. Professor Dahlia is teaching me plenty of tips on what to look for when critiquing a package, but it was proven to be difficult to find things wrong due to my whole team submitting incredible packages. Many people did not have anything to fix at all, and those who did only had a few adjustments. This is only their second show, so I was rather impressed by everyone. My team is making my job rather easy.

image2 The following day, I had the honor of being the first producer to shoot/produce from WVU News’ Studio B. The Media Innovation Center on WVU’s Evansdale campus is home to this new studio. It took a few hours to get camera angles, lighting, and reporter movement just right. However, it ended up being the perfect way to incorporate the Reed College of Media’s new space. Studio B became a great addition to our newscast, giving it a change of scenery during the show. Many professional newscasts do this already, so we are excited to continue using it.

IMG_6418 The script for this show was much better than the one I wrote for the first show. I took a lot of Professor Dahlia’s critiques and tried to put them into my script. My biggest concern was calculating out show time because last time we almost ran over, but we made our time perfectly. I find myself improving all the time in many different aspects of producing. I could even hear the improvements I had made in my writing during our read through on Tuesday. I felt more ready for show the next morning than I had at that same time during the previous show.

image1 We started right on time this week because everyone became familiar with their positions last week. After only three takes, we got everything perfect. Anchors read with enthusiasm, control room ran smoothly, and camera angles were perfect. I felt confident in coaching the anchors on my own this time. They always take my feedback and run with it. Again, this is only our second time recording, and we were done an hour and a half earlier than expected. There is no better feeling than knowing everyone made such a large improvement that we are ahead of schedule. However there is room to get better, no one is ever perfect. I am sure we will see great enhancements next time.
1 Oct
Authored By Jackson | October 1st, 2016

When I first came into WVU News, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had reported in the past and was comfortable doing so, but part of me wanted to try something different. So, I decided to try for producer.

Day 1 as Producer That being said, I was in shock to find out that was the position I was given. Thrilled, but shocked. I wasn’t confident that my work was good enough. One of the first lessons I learned when producing: confidence goes a long way.

As a producer, I not only have my own work to do, but also need to make sure my team is able to get done what they need to. I had to check up on stories and give advice to my reporters, which was something I wasn’t used to doing. I noticed that my confidence was contagious though, and if my reporters were confident, then I wouldn’t have to worry about too much.

Friday morning, we announced who had made show that week. It was a relief to know what stories I had to work with and I soon began writing the script for my first show!

Throughout this whole process, I was thankful to have Professor Dahlia and Megan Saporito to help me. Megan had produced the first show of the semester and did a great job, so it was a little intimidating to follow her. That’s when I had to find my confidence again.

Great first read through With the script done and all packages completed, I sat down with my reporters Tuesday to read through the show. I am so grateful for the support they gave me! It was great to see how excited everyone was, and I knew we were going to have a great show!

Wednesday morning, I was nervous, but excited to see what we would accomplish. I made sure everyone had what was needed for the taping. Everyone at the Waterfront studio was very helpful, and it wasn’t long before we were ready to roll.

GIving guidance to anchors. It was during the taping that I finally realized something: I love being a producer! The nerves completely vanished and I was alive with the energy of the control room. It was fun to be in constant contact with my anchors to help them get the best take. Before I knew it, the show was done!
In the control room. I am proud of what everyone was able to accomplish this week. Through it all, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and what it means to be a good leader. There is room to improve, but I know with confidence that we are going to keep getting better and better. I look forward creating shows that my team, Professor Dahlia and West Virginia University will be proud of!
23 Sep
Authored By Jackson | September 23rd, 2016

As I sat to write my first script for WVU News, all I felt was doubt. I didn’t know if this life is what I was cut out for or if I was any good at what I am doing. Executive Producer comes with a lot of new responsibilities that I have never had before. However, the first week of taping has now ended and I feel absolutely incredible.

fliming Writing has always been a passion of mine, and having the ability to help write the script for our newscast is exciting. My job didn’t really start until the weekend, though, when I had to put everyone’s scripts together into a fluid show. I made good use of my extra time throughout the week, helping my group film their stand-ups and edit their sound bites together. I really love to edit and having the opportunity to help them is important to me.

Helping Others I instantly realized that being Executive Producer is also a leadership role, which is not something abnormal to me. Everyone started coming to me with questions about what was going to be due, what diversity elements should they take on within their stories, and how to format a script. I was fearful of steering them all in the wrong direction. I am still trying to figure out the best way to do my own job, but I always do what I can to help.

Script Read Tuesday night rolled around, and everyone who made show gathered together to read through the script. It was the first time I had to lead something like that, and no one else had ever done a read through before. We worked out the kinks, and everyone got a feel for the flow of the show, which paid off the next morning when we went in for taping. I am getting a feel for how everyone reads the script, making it easier to write for them and walk them through the script as the semester continues.

I walked into the studio Wednesday knowing that this day would be filled with more pressure than most. The team has limited time, everyone is trying to learn how to operate equipment, and everyone wants to be their very best. We rolled into a few technical glitches. It took quite a few takes. However, for a first taping, I was very proud of everyone.

TAPING feedback Anchors took my feedback well; I always try to give a lot of feedback, both compliments and criticism. I wanted everyone’s spirits to stay high on set. I tried my best to talk my anchors through the show and make sure the show ended in plenty of time. With the blink of an eye, our time was up.

TAPING Headsets Afterwards, messages from my team came with encouragement and a big “thank you” for helping their get through taping. I felt incredible and confident that this is the job for me! I will continue to do whatever my team needs to be successful. There is obviously plenty of room for improvement next show, but it can only get better from here.

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