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
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.

23 Apr
Authored By Karly | April 23rd, 2016

Well, that’s a wrap! The WVU News journey is officially over for my classmates and I. It feels just like yesterday when I walked into Professor Dahlia’s classroom and tried out for the Executive Producer position. Initially, I knew I wanted to take on this role and now that it’s the end of my WVU News road, I am so grateful for my opportunity.

As a tradition, the last newscast is a special edition show. This means that every reporter had to do a story on the same beat. Group 2’s beat was Education. Professor Dahlia was thrilled with each reporter’s story pitch and so was I. With the special edition show, as a producer I had to come up with a name for this week’s newscast. With the help of our TA, Karly, we came up with “WVU News goes outside the classroom.” Once I evaluated the packages on Thursday, I knew this would be our best newscast yet.

Thursday night was a bittersweet moment for me. It was the last time I would be critiquing packages for WVU News and I could not be any more proud of my reporters.

Most of the packages required little fixes so it was a very tough decision who made the cut for our last newscast. Madison, Rachel Magnone, Garrett, and Jen were who it came down to. IMG_3100 As usual, Robby did sports and Brooke and Jordan were our main anchors. However, there was a change up this last show. Abby Lafferty, the Social Square anchor from Group 1, had to take on the Social Square position for Group 2. Rachel Elkins was very sick so both her, I, and all of group 2 appreciated Abby coming on Wednesday for taping.

IMG_3097 Going into script writing came easy for me. However, I will never forget the first script I wrote and all time Professor Dahlia put into teaching me things I should and should not do. This last script was no different than my last script in that I moved pretty fast through it. I put my all into this script knowing it was my last and I truly think I came a long way from the first script to now.

IMG_3106 There was another change this week. Professor Dahlia was at a Journalism conference in Las Vegas, so my final script would be sent to Karly. On Sunday, she revised it and there were minor changes for her to make. During Wednesday, Karly ran the show with the help of Alyssa and Andrew. The three of them did a great job as well as everyone both on and off set.

IMG_3105 Taping went smooth and we were out at a reasonable time. It was another bittersweet moment for all my reporters and I. We all came a long way this semester and I have made some great friends as well as memories. However, I will not miss getting up early on Wednesday mornings.

Although I am relieved that WVU News is over, I will miss being a producer for this show. IMG_3107 I have learned so much about not only how to produce but also things about myself. With that said, I am ready for the real world and I could not be more excited to see what’s in store for me! I could not thank Professor Dahlia enough for choosing me as an Executive Producer. I have loved every minute of it!

15 Apr
Authored By Karly | April 15th, 2016

Well that is it. This crazy WVU News journey has officially ended.

It is crazy to think that I was so scared and nervous when I first started this ride and now in a just few short months it’s all over. WVU News Blog 5 #1 Our last show was a special edition show, so every reporter had to do a story that somehow incorporated diversity. Professor Dahlia was sick the day of our news meeting, which made me a little nervous because I had to take the lead more to make sure all the stories were going to be worthy of being in the special edition episode.

Thursday night when all the reporters turned in their last packages, it was such a proud moment for me as their producer. WVU News Blog 5 #2 Every package was SO GOOD! They required very little fixes if any and I really, really wished we could have picked all of them to be in the show because they all deserved to be. It ultimately just came down to who had the most diverse package.

Going in to script writing, I thought it was going to be harder than usual because every story was focused on diversity. It was actually a breeze and I finished writing in just under 4 hours! My first time writing the script took me over 6 so I was extremely happy about that.

WVU News Blog 5 #4 I didn’t know how I would feel going into our last taping. Would I be happy? Would I be sad? It was a little bit of both. I was definitely ready to film for the last time and excited that I wasn’t going to have to get up at 7 a.m. on Wednesday mornings anymore, but filming the show is always such a fun thing for me so I was a little sad that I wouldn’t get to have that sort of experience again. The taping was great! We finished in our shortest amount of time yet and came out with an awesome show.

WVU News Blog 5 #3 Although I am relieved the stress and time commitment of being a producer is over, there is definitely a part of me that will really miss this experience and all the amazing people I met through it. I was so lucky to have the group that I did. They all taught me so much and I will always be amazed on how they were able to handle everything that was required of them as reporters. I don’t think I ever could’ve done what they did. Everybody in my group made my job as a producer easy. I would have never made it through the semester if it wasn’t for them. I will forever remember all the laughs and good times we had together. WVU News Blog 5 #5

I don’t think I will really know how much this experience has really done for me until I actually get in the real world and into a real job. That is when I think I will really be thankful for all that I was able to do and learn. I do know now that I don’t need to be scared of how I will handle anything in my future job because WVU News has prepared me for anything.
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