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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Importance of Food in the Newsroom

I used to work in a newsroom where the mere act of walking in would add at least five pounds. During a book, someone was responsible for bringing breakfast to the am meeting. During the entire month of December, someone was assigned to bring cookies each day. Not to mention Friday night treat night (my contribution when I was producing the 10pm).

I would encourage you to bring some snacks in on a regular basis, if only to tell the fine folks with whom you work that-- hey, I appreciate you. A well deserved compliment, and food, can go a long way to making people feel, at least temporarily, a little happier in the workplace.

When in Doubt, Lead with Weather

I know I've done a post in the past about how important weather coverage is-- but it's worth repeating. If you are ever sitting at your desk, pondering whether to lead with weather, you should lead with it, even if it's just a brief toss to video and a quick pop with the weather guy. People love weather and are much more interested in it than say, the shooting that happened in a neighborhood no where near them.

When in doubt, lead with weather!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

We're in the Communication Business

We're in the communication business and yet- shockingly- it looks like some reporters and photographers have scarcely said a word to each other prior to their liveshot. You can tell because the reporter is talking about one thing and the photographer is showing another.

It is great if you are a reporter and want to walk and talk or show stuff. But you must talk it over with your photographer first. Do a couple practice runs ahead of time. If you are working with a photographer who is challenged, keep it super simple. We're going here, here, then the package. Or whatever. Just make sure you are both on the same page before you do anything. You may also want to ask their ideas. Many photographers are much better at figuring out cool standups and live shots than the talent with whom they work.

Love a Lav

If you can, encourage your reporters to use lav mics out on live shots. Your live shots will look better. Your reporters can move around and talk naturally. Nothing is so funny as seeing a reporter who talks with their hands using a stick mic. You can see them wanting to use that mic hand and practically have to restrain themselves to keep from moving it with the other hand. Why bother? Use a lav and move all you want.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Find Your Own Replacement

If you want to get promoted into another job or another shift, make it easy for your boss to promote you. Remember from school- how an object at rest stays at rest? That is your boss. He or she is perfectly happy to let you stay in your current position forever. Why? Because to move you means he or she will have to replace you and since you are brilliant, that will be a real pain. So make it easy for your boss and help them find your replacement.

If you have writers, groom them to transition into your job. Give them more responsibilty. Have them produce a whole segment (with your supervision). Let them booth a block of your show. This system is a two-fer. It grooms your replacement but also shows your boss you can be a manager.

If you don't have anyone in house, let your fingers do the walking. Start flipping through your rolodex for buds from college or friends you have from other stations or markets. Ask them if they are interested in a producing gig or if they know anyone who is.
Have the interest parties call you and you can walk in their resume to your boss. This is also a two-fer. Once you start making calls like these, you will have people start returning the favor, alerting you to jobs well before they are ever posted.