10 things I learned my first year as a web producer

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1. It’s a news factory. 

Unlike TV Producers who have the luxury of knowing that once their show is over they are done, web producer’s work never ends. There will always be something that needs to be added to the website or a tweet that needs to be retweeted, or a Facebook message that needs to be read.

2. Be a jack of all trades.

In a newsroom, everyone has a different roll—producer, director, assignment editor, reporter, etc.  As a web producer, you must know how to do everything from cutting video, write breaking news, understand social media.

3. Be a news director. 

This one was very unexpected but I learned how to direct online newscasts. I was a nervous wreck the first time I directed my first Facebook live. No joke, I thought I would pass out in the middle of it. But over time, I learned that if the show ended up being a disaster, it could simply be deleted.

4. Read/study other headlines. 

When I first started I was being held up to the same standards as people who had been in the business for 10 plus years. Writing headlines is pretty hard because you only have so many characters to describe what the story is about, all while trying to catch the reader’s attention. My digital executive producer encouraged me to study the headlines of major publications to see what they were writing. When you’re first starting out don’t worry about your headlines being super over the top or creative, focus on making sure they are accurate.

5. No lunch.

This sounds illegal but depending on what type of day it is, determines if I will have time to go out and grab something to eat. Some days there can be nonstop breaking news. I always make sure to bring a water bottle to keep refilling throughout the day and keep k-cups in a drawer, in case I need an extra boost. Most days I eat lunch at my desk or order from Ubereats (use my code for ), which has saved me sooooooooo many times from going hungry. When I first started, I made the mistake of marking my hour lunch that we are legally required to have. But now on days where I can’t leave, I make sure I write down on my time card– ‘missed lunch’.

6. Don’t Engage in Office Gossip 

 

7. Breaking news will always happen 20 minutes before the shift is over.

For some reason, something always has to happen right before the show is about to start. I will be wrapping things up and have my scripts ready on the website, ready to cut video as soon as I see it online so that I can publish it ASAP. All of a sudden we have I have to write something up quickly for the website and send out notifications. The beauty of being a web producer is that even though we are close to the show, the website doesn’t have a time limit. I can easily push things aside to write breaking news and then go back to the other web posts.

8. You will make mistakes.

My boss would call me aside every week during the first two months when I started web producing. He would always tell me everything I was doing wrong and what I could be improving. It was very overwhelming and it seemed like I was doing everything horribly wrong. I even had a meeting with the news director because our social media numbers were so low. He told me that if our social posts were not at the top of Chartbeat or our competing stations beat us with social stats by a few points, it meant that I wasn’t trying hard enough. That day I seriously wanted to cry. But after that day, I made sure our social media numbers were at the top and they have remained at the top on the days I’m there. Recently, I even posted a video on Facebook that hit almost 4 million views. THIS IS HOW YOU LEARN, by making mistakes. Don’t take anything to heart.

9. Know your audience.

Knowing who is reading and clicking on the articles on the website/social media is key. Typically our audience on Facebook is older women whereas on Twitter and YouTube our audience is under 35. As I mentioned above, the reason why the Facebook video has close to 4 million views is that aside from the age range, Fresno is comprised of 48% Latinos. It was a strategic move to post a video of police officers dancing to the popular Spanish song “Tao Tao”.

10. Live in the moment.

There are some days that I second guess my career, not because I hate what I do, contrary, I love being a web producer but having nonstop breaking news on some days test my desire for a career in TV news. The minute I become unhappy with my career is the day I will make a change. But for now, talking and creating content about the daily current events makes me happy. I love sharing information with the public and being the first to know what is happening in my city. I get so happy when a missing person is found because of the post I wrote up and decided to publish on the website. Even though no one is thanking me about my job, it makes me happy to know that I am making a slight difference.

 

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