The pilot program offered four undergraduates the opportunity to work as producers for six or more weeks at Jackson, Miss. television stations. Ben Hart, assistant news director at WAPT, supervised one of the Meek School interns this summer. He says writing is critical to the job of a producer.
“You have to have the basic writing skill to be able to tell a story and not just tell the story that someone’s told you,” said Hart. “You have to be able to explain the story someone’s told you. I think what we do here as producers is simplify bigger ideas.”
A news producer is at the center of the action in a newsroom. He or she will select stories based on what affects or could affect the most viewers in a designated market area (DMA). The producer has to be on top of all the news of the day when putting a show together.
The producer is also in touch with the reporters throughout the day. He or she is getting updates on how a story is going, may be redirecting a reporter to cover breaking news or might be coaching a reporter to make sure a certain element is included in a particular story.
Meek School graduate Amanda Coleman is now producing the 6 p.m. newscast at WAPT. She says organization, efficiency, accuracy
and timeliness are important skills for producers. She also offers this advice for students considering a career in producing.
“Definitely do an internship so you can see what you like about it and if you really want to do it.”
Brit Stack is a journalism major who took part in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s inaugural newscast producing internship program. She and three other students spent 6-8 weeks at Jackson television stations, learning how to craft a newscast and producing their own shows. To apply for the summer 2013 internship, please contact Deb Wenger: firstname.lastname@example.org.