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, February 24, 2009

Decisions, decisions

As a news producer, you will have to make a lot of decisions. Someone emailed me recently asking for help on how to make them. Here's my advice...

Trust your Gut and Find a Friend or two in the Newsroom

Trust your gut. Deep down sometimes when you are making a tough decision, there is a little voice that says... don't do it! Or... go for it! But you toss that aside and don't trust your better judgement. Let me tell you.. and I speak from the experience of mistakes... never ignore that voice. You hear about something on the scanners.... and you think.. well we ought to go but... just go. You can always pull crews back (within reason). Same goes for story selection. Something inside says... well, maybe I ought to lead with such and such... just do it.

Have a friend or two in the newsroom.
Find the oldest guy in the newsroom, the one who's been in the market the longest, the one who lives in and loves the community. This may be a craggy assignment desk guy or reporter... or maybe an anchor. Chances are, this person gets ignored. This person can be your saviour. Or maybe it's just someone in the newsroom you respect. Who gets it right most of the time? If this person is on your shift... ask them... hey Bob, I was thinking about leading with xyz, what do you think? You do not have to accept their opinion, but it's probably useful to hear it. There are a lot of talented people in every newsroom. Let their talent and experience help guide you in your decisions. Notice I said guide, not make. In the end, as a boss once told me, "It ain't a democracy." He who gets yelled at the next day for making the wrong decision is ultimately the one who gets to make the call.

Finally, my Dad says good reading makes for good writing. It's the same for news. Watch, read and listen to a lot of local and national news and it will subtly refine your judgement.

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