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

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rough Turns

There aren't many opportunities for anchors to develop or share chemistry. Tosses to weather and sports are sometimes the only times your anchors can lossen up and let viewers connect with them a little. Try to assist in this process by making the story before weather or sports one that might be condusive to chit-chat. I was watching a newscast the other day where a crime story was actually what lead into weather. It brought the show to a grinding halt and made for a really rough turn for the anchors. Instead, pick a feature or a talker. Maybe something one or both of the anchors is interested in- whatever- just no buzzkills right before sports or weather tosses.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Throw Out Your Thesaurus

Or at least take it home. There's no reason to have one in the newsroom. You shouldn't be afraid to use the same word twice in a story. It's how people talk and it's what your scripts should sound like when they're read aloud.

Some examples...

When talking about the writer's strike, using "writer" in the lead but then in the next graph, deciding to go with "scribe."

And, my personal favorite and oft mentioned... writing "white stuff" when we all know it's snow.

Ditto "blaze" for fire.

With rare exceptions, if words aren't used in normal conversation, they shouldn't be in your scripts.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

When Not to Have Reporter Involvement

If you are putting a piece together and you want to use the reporter asking a question along with the answer, you may want to skip it altogether if the photog adjusts the shot RIGHT AFTER the question is asked. And not a smooth push, but a quick zoom, whoops- too close, and widens out a touch. Seem obvious to edit this out? I thought so, till I saw this done in a top 20 market. Is it laziness or did someone think it was cool and raw? I have no idea. It looked terrible and sloppy.

Tips for Successful Election Night

Plenty of pizzas and caffeine are key to knocking it out of the park. And don't forget your field crews when you are doling out the free food.

If you have a ton of results that you need to show but are not major races, trying scrolling through graphic panels going in or out of a break. People can read- and it's a lot more jazzy than hearing your anchor read every single stat. For some key races where you do want your anchor to read the results, how about having moving video in the graphic somewhere? It could be video of the candidates or the issue or just people voting.