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

Friday, June 4, 2010

Field Producing

I try to make this blog for local line producers but I've been getting some emails about field producing so I thought i'd write a bit about it...

Field producing is fun. At a network level, the job title varies depending on the network (even within the network). Some field producers write-- some don't. Some come from an assignment editing background, some from a producing background. At my network, I do a lot of story setup and what's called "editorial" -- basically information gathering. So, for example, on breaking news, I'm calling people trying to get info, figuring out where our "roving" crew should go (one crew may do lives shots, another may shoot videotape nearby). I also liason with NY and others about our live hits. I'll work with a writer in NY and tell them-- we'll need this video, may I order a graphic... etc. I also try to help steer the ship in the right direction by providing logistical info (maybe we should move live locations because this one over here is better, for example).

Our "liveshot" days are long. we're usually 8am EST -8pm EST plus travel time from where ever we are staying. We're on the road about 50-75% of the time. I am on call 24/7 unless I have specifically asked for days off.

When we're not doing breaking news, we do "assigned stories." I or another co-worker may pitch a story, and if it's approved, I'll research it, make calls, do story set up. You may also log tape and write. I try to do as much as I can for the web as well.

I also field produced at a local level, which I liked a lot. There, I basically took stories from start to finish like a reporter would but then just handed them off to an anchor to voice. In big breaking stories, I'd go in the field and coordinate coverage, much like I do now. If you're interested in field producing, whether at a network or at a local affiliate, I'd try coming in on your day off and going out with a photog. Do some interviews, write some stories, see what it feels like to be responsible for 2:00 of the show, rather than the whole show. But also understand, it comes with some trade-offs-- if you like being one of the decision makers, field producing is not the way for you.

The good news is, I think show producers are well equipped to be field producers. You know how to work with talent and you’re good at big picture stuff. Many of you already work the phones to get info for your show. And you’ve already made tons of coverage decisions.

If you’re interested, like I say, try to get experience at your station even if it’s on your days off, and network like a big fiend. Get in touch or stay in touch with former co-workers through Linked In, Facebook, Twitter. Meet new folks by attending conferences like IRE, RTNDA/F, NAHJ, NABJ, NPPA.

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