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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Production Crews and Breaking News

I (not so recently-- sorry for being a slacker) received an email from a producer having trouble getting her production crews on board for breaking news cut-ins. Here's the advice I offered her...

Production crews generally didn't sign up for the news aspect as much as the television aspect of things. Does that make sense? What I'm getting at is-- you and I are probably stoked because of breaking news... the thrill is why we got in/stay in. For production crews, there's a different pay-off for their work. Try to figure out what that is and emphasize it. Why do they do what they do? What thrills them?

Also, a lot of crews generally feel under-appreciated. So every time there's breaking news and they've done a good job, I'd make a point to say that. Go around and say thank-you to everyone. Emphasize how much you apreciate their effort and how each of their individual contributions helped make your on air product really work. It doesn't hurt to bring in treats every once in a while either! So maybe if there's been a bunch of breaking news or a particularly hectic week, bring in some treats and say--"I know this week has been killer... just want to say thanks!!"

Finally, I found production crews to be a great resource in a number of different ways. Since many don't follow news minute by minute like those on the editorial side, they can give you a fresh perspective/good feedback on your newscasts. Listen to the comments made in the booth during a show. If they didn't get something or thought something didn't work.. chances are their views are more in line with your viewers. A second great way they can help is.. since many come from a production side of things, they've worked on non-news stuff. That experience can add something to your newscasts. Ask for their opinions about set positions... trying new things.. graphics... etc.

TV News Less Diverse?

There's a new study out looking at share agreements and their impact on TV news. The theory is that if we're all sending someone to get the Mayor's groundbreaking ceremony, why not just send one photog and share the video? How different is that than a courtroom or any other pool?

In general I think these arrangements are a bad idea. The talents of each individual photographer on staff add a lot to make your newscast and product look unique. But I think the horse is out of the barn on this one. These agreements aren't going away so how do you make the best of them? I was out of local news before share agreements became popular. What do you guys think of them.

The study I mentioned was commissioned by a labor group so consider the source.