Occupation: Producer

I’ve already added everything for Emily’s breaking story… so that’s slugged in 12. Also, Paul is doing a VO/SOT on the Erie School District unveiling a new K-5 curriculum. And oh, the president is declaring a national emergency. Happy Friday!

Feb. 15, 2019 around 11:00 a.m.

It’s been a month and a half since I started my job in Erie, and over a year since I’ve written a blog consistently. I figured now was as good a time as any to start up again.

As a primer: I hail from a suburb of Pittsburgh called Carnegie, PA. I graduated in December with a degree in Broadcast Production and Media Management from Point Park University, so it’s safe to say I’ve never strayed too far from home. I currently live in the heart of Erie, PA and work full-time for a television station as a news producer.

The “producer” title means slightly different jobs at each workplace. In my case, I put together newscasts. Reporters will pitch and write/shoot/edit each individual story, and it’s my job to provide reporters with a place to put their story, provide the director with the commands to pull it off, and the anchors a cohesive narrative over the course of the newscasts. I write several elements of the newscast myself: tosses to break, headlines at the start of the show, sometimes full stories.

After being a student for the first 21 years of my life, it was incredibly strange to think of myself as a professional anything. I spent most of my teenage years resenting that I wasn’t being taken “seriously enough” whatever that means. I’ve since learned that being an adult is primarily making it up as you go along… but with confidence. You can’t really be taught confidence, and in my case I have used humility as an excuse to not learn what confidence is.

The first time I put my occupation as “news producer” as opposed to “student” was for the application to rent my current apartment. There’s something powerful yet daunting about declaring yourself to have a “real” job. The main difference between this venture and everything else I’ve done to this point is that I have a contract. I’ve worked in newsrooms before, I’ve worked full time, I’ve even been paid for journalistic work I’ve done. On the flip-side, I’ve also worked for free and had to wait a month (or more) to be paid promised wages.

The first day the station let me produce a full program was a Friday wherein we had a multi-car pileup, severe weather warnings and the President announced the end to a government shutdown. I’ve become a little less panicky since then, but I don’t think there’s a day that goes by where I don’t learn something I hadn’t before.

Simultaneously the best and worst part about my job is that it completely starts the next day. Yes, some nights I miss things, but on the bright side there’s always another day ahead. At the same time, having a blank slate can be just as nerve-wracking to have to fill. But so we beat on… and I wouldn’t rather be anyplace else right now. Well, except maybe on a vacation to Chicago in late summer… but that’s a side effect of living in the Northeast.

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