The Producer Page: September 2000


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    • is a fee-based site to match sports media job-seekers with employers. The job-seeker pays; the employer does not.
    • is a fee-based consultant service for producers. You can send in your tape and receive a critique.


    by Alice Main,

    I thought about writing here about my last day of work, but then I figured, you've all lived through broken script printers, broken commercial playback machines, and calls from dissatisfied viewers such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

    Then, I then about telling you what I'll do next. But I'm not EXACTLY sure what my future holds. Yes, I've enrolled in a Web Project Management program at the University of Chicago. I have a couple of clients already and plan to get more. My kids started school last week, and the coming week is crammed full with parent orientation nights and after-school soccer practices. I'm going to be an occasional volunteer in my younger son's kindergarten class. I did, in fact, join the PTA and might even chair a committee. I plan to continue this newsletter/Web site. But beyond that, who knows? See the future, I cannot, as Yoda might say. (Sorry.. "The Phantom Menace" is playing loudly in the next room as I write this.)

    So maybe I should write about what I've learned in my 13 years in the TV producing biz. Here are a few things that come to mind:

    • Whenever possible, treat people as you want to be treated. This includes your coworkers, the viewers and even the newsmakers.
    • Don't overhype your teases. Viewers don't like that. Tease only what you can deliver.
    • Make sure everyone in the story meetings gets a chance to speak up. Every idea may not be doable, but every idea is valuable.
    • Don't waste a lot of time and energy bemoaning (or cursing) the crises that inevitably occur. (The lead story that suddenly cannot air because the lawyers say it's not ready. The live truck that dies. The breaking news you have to add at the last second, which is going to decimate your second block.) Use that time and energy to find a way out of your jam.
    • If you don't have an EP or someone else reading your stories, get an anchor to do it, BEFORE the show. We all need a second pair of eyes on our copy.
    • Choose battles you think you can win. Hand the other battles to your boss.
    • Be a stickler for details.
    • Is there a way to check graphics before the show? Do it. Can you review all your chyrons in some sort of list before the show? Do it.
    • Assume nothing. If you need a certain piece of video shot for a tease or a cold open, don't assume the reporter & photographer are going to get it. Be sure you ask.
    • TV news is not rocket science.
    • Have a little fun.

    ANOTHER NEW E-MAIL ADDRESS is too slow for me. Even though I have a DSL connection, I have to wait several seconds between every action. So I need to ask you to bear with me and switch one more time, to So please use for job openings, letters to the editor, articles, etc.

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    The Producer Newsletter is edited by Alice Main, (soon to be former) executive producer at WLS-TV in Chicago. Robert Stewart, professor of journalism at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, has put it all onto the web, in individual newsletter form and as The Producer Book. Job openings are posted there as they are received. Everything about The Producer is free. You can see it all at Send all submissions (articles, jobs, etc) to