Welcome to the PIT List!

I'm a network field producer who also worked in local tv as a line producer and field producer. Over the years, I have had the great fortune to work with super people. Now I'd like to pass along what I know and rant a tad.

"Dear Maggie..." pitlist@gmail.com
I check it sporadically, but I love answering emails, so if you have an issue or difficult person you need help with, don't hesitate to shoot it my way.

Maggie L

Maggie L
One of the rare times I'm in the office

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How to Screwup

I find the screwups that are hardest to deal with are my own. Other people? I expect them to make mistakes-- it's my job to have systems in place to catch them and to make sure things go smoothly. But my own slip-ups? I HATE them.

The best thing to do if you make a mistake is to own it. Not just apologize and say it will never happen again, but to truly sit with it for a while. That way, you can break it down and see what went wrong-- and what, if anything, in your performance you could have changed. Is there something systematic that you could put in place to catch the mistake?

Let's use an example: a simple graphics request.

Did graphics receive the request? Does graphics understand the request and do they have questions? Maybe the system change could be, "I will check with graphics an hour after I put a request in to see if there are any issues." Getting questions at three hours before showtime is a lot easier to deal with than a half hour before airtime.

What about spelling and style? I advocate reading and rereading aloud all graphics. Do we do this each and every time we make a graphic or do we think we are too busy and just send it off without double checking it? Sure graphics should catch your spelling and other errors, but that's not their job. And, most times, they are as slammed as you are, so they might be tempted to just cut and paste what you sent them.

Maybe another system change could be asking someone, anyone, to look over your request before you send it up. If you are a reporter or field producer, send it to the show producer. They should be looking at all graphic requests for their show, if not just to check for spelling, but also so that all graphics in the show have a consistent look and feel.

How about after the graphic is made? Is there anyway to see it? Some systems are automated and you can call it up. Maybe someone can email you a rough copy. Or, if the graphics department is in your building, maybe you can walk up there at some point in the day and check it out first hand.

If you haven't guessed, I screwed up a graphic last week and I am still sore about it. What's worse is that if I would have followed up in a few simple ways, it would not have been as painful as it was. Don't let this happen to you! Make mistakes, but have systems in place to catch them!

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