Jason Berry is currently the Producer for 3TV News at 9pm and is now tackling the new 3TV News at 10pm show that launches August 22, 2011. When I sat down with him he said the question he gets the most is," What, exactly, does a producer do?" Well, here's the scoop from Jason himself.
On a basic level, I write what the people on TV say. Most of it, anyway. I also decide which stories should be in the newscast, and in what order. Equally important, I decide how those stories will be presented. Will there be a map showing where something happened? A graphic with bullet points? A piece of video? A sound bite? What will best tell the story? I also have to time the show. For any given newscast, there will be a start time (say, 10pm), an end time, (say, 10:30) and some commercial time. All the stuff in between is what we call the “news hole”—that’s the amount of time the show producer has to fill with content. Some stories are 30 seconds long. Others are a minute and a half. Throw in enough stories, plus some weather and sports, and you have a newscast.
During the course of the day, I estimate how much time a story will take to tell and I put it in the show’s rundown (which is the list of stories in the show). That rundown changes throughout the day, depending on what’s going on. By the time we go on air, I usually have more stories than time. So during the newscast, I often have to drop some of the stories we’ve prepared from the rundown to make sure we end the show on time. There are also days when I have to change the rundown mid-show, either because of breaking news, timing issues, or technical issues. Once the show’s done, I write a report outlining any problems with the newscast, and then I go home. As the 9 pm news producer, my day starts around 1:30pm and ends just after 10pm. For the 10pm show, it’ll be similar—perhaps 2pm to 10:30pm. Any questions?
You can contact Jason on Twitter @JasonBerry3TV