I am not a producer. I am an anchor/reporter, but I believe producers possess a magic potion, a wizard-like power to create a powerful, positive newsroom culture. Recently, I completed a story by wrapping a live intro and tag around a package. I was out at a local high school and it was a hot day. The story was nothing special, but I thought I did a good job and had a unique angle. I was satisfied. As soon as I tagged the live story and before I could put the microphone down, the producer said in my ear, “great story Ross, thanks for the effort”. I smiled, put down the microphone and felt good. You might think this kind of simple compliment is common. Unfortunately it is not. But, it is magic! Producing a newscast must be a tremendously tough and pressure-filled job, but most good producers know that part of that job is managing people. The small, simple compliment given to me by the producer that day made me want to do anything for her and the rest of the news team. So, from someone on the outside to those on the inside, realize that a simple positive word or compliment is a powerful management tool.
As your day in front of that computer develops, pay attention to crews or reporters who are doing a particularly difficult story or one that you know is taking a lot of energy or time. They will deserve your kind words and you can turn a frustrating day into a positive one. BE A MANAGER In the field, reporters manage their crews. They compliment them, organize them, buy them a soda or anything to try to build a team feeling. Producers need to do that too. There are times when you thought you had a great program and it aired flawlessly and no one said a word. Be the kind of manager who knows the power of the compliment. Make it part of your morning preparations to decide which field team you will pay attention to that day and give them encouragement Good managers motivate, and so do good producers. BE SINCERE Don’t just pay lip service. Word will get around if you are just going through the motions. There is no reason to compliment a field team that let you down or came up short. But, if there is some one thing that is good, like a particular shot or interview or interview question, point it out and tell the reporter or photographer they “hit a home run” with that one. BE RESOURCEFUL If you are too busy during the newscast, send a note. Email or “top-line” it does not matter, but it will let the field teams know you appreciate their work and when you ask for more the next day chances are you will get it. The same goes for the team at the assignment desk or graphics. Jot a kind word on a sticky note and let them find it on their computer. If you are reading this and find yourself thinking this is just common sense, you are right! If you find yourself saying, I don’t have time to baby-sit the whinny reporters and photographers in the field, then you are also sometimes right. Of course, they are whinny babies, but it’s in your power to change that. I call it producer magic. By the way, when I returned to the station I went over the producer and thanked her for the compliment. I told her it meant a lot to me. She smiled. It works.