Lesson 8 (Four to Five Class Periods)
"I have an itch to be part of a newsroom."
Jane Robelot announcing her return to local television
Crew Assignments and Operation
Crew assignments and operation are imperative to a smooth-running broadcast and production crew. Therefore, students must know each assignment definition and its responsibilities. You can either assign each student for the entire semester to a specific assignment, or you can rotate throughout the semester, enabling all students to experience each role. This is an excellent opportunity for you as an educator to essentially “cross-train” these students, ensuring each student will know each assignment, therefore allowing another student to step in another assignment if required.
Below are crew assignments and job descriptions.
Daily News Producer: The daily news producer is responsible for the newscast production. He/she is responsible for the entire production crew and coordinating technical and nontechnical production elements of the broadcast. The daily news producer is also responsible for gathering and assigning stories.
Line Producer: Responsible for producing the program, the Line Producer oversees studio preparation, equipment, on-air broadcast, including anchor direction, and studio clean-up post-broadcast. The Line Producer is also responsible for overseeing the run-through, or pre-show, ensuring the script is smooth and anchors are polished.
Anchor(s): The anchor’s responsibilities include preparing the broadcast script around reporter stories and features (with the direction from the assigned producer) and ensuring a professional, on-air professional broadcast. Good posture, clear speaking and pace are very important aspects to consider when anchoring. It is the anchor’s job to engage the audience.
Director: The director is responsible for directing all aspects of the broadcast, including the technical director and camera operators, ensuring both receive direction on switching cameras and count-downs.
Technical Director: Taking direction from the director, the technical director operates the video switcher during the live broadcast, including punching, switching and fades, as well as ensures all clips for the day’s broadcast are loaded and cued.
Camera Person(s): Responsible for camera operation during the broadcast, the camera person(s) should make sure before the broadcast all cameras are operational, white-balanced, on the tripod, all wiring is correct and the feed is being read by switcher. The camera operator should go through the broadcast run-through, familiarizing him/herself with the broadcast run-down.
Character Generator Operator/Lower Thirds: The character generation operator will create all pages of text (for example, credits), lower thirds and overlays before the broadcast. He/she will also ensure all still pictures are available and cued for broadcast.
Audio Engineer: Assisting the director, the audio engineer makes sure the sound board is on, working properly and the signal is being read by the audio mixer or recorder. The assistant director is also responsible for microphones and all on-air broadcast participants can be heard. Additionally, the assistant director/audio engineer chooses the music for each broadcast. Remember copyright rules before choosing copyrighted music.
Script Editors: Script editors are responsible for ensuring the script is well-written, grammatically correct and factually accurate. If corrections need to be made, or problems are evident, it’s the script editor’s job to correct the information.
Sports Producer: The sports producer gathers scores from relevant games, provides the scores and results to the producer and CG operator, game schedules, and ensures all game footage, interviews, etc. are given to the video editor in time for the broadcast.
Video Editor(s): Responsible for editing all offline footage shot by camera persons, for example, interviews, game highlights, school events, etc. before the daily broadcast to be integrated into the show.
Reporter(s): The reporter’s main responsibility is to gather information for stories and features for the broadcast. This is done by interviews, press releases, public records and other sources. Splitting his/her time between working in the newsroom and going on field assignments, they compile, write and sometimes edit the story.
Floor Director: The stage manager is responsible for ensuring the set is ready each day for broadcast, including set design, dressing the set for appropriate events and making sure the overall appearance of the set is broadcast-ready. The floor director also signals to on-camera talent (anchors, etc.) which camera is active and how much time is remaining the the story or segment.
An understanding of what a production crew is and what each individual crew assignment is responsible for.
The importance of teamwork in producing a live broadcast.
Handout (To be created)
Individual crew assignments folded
A bucket/hat or other container
Students will pick from a hat/bucket/jar a crew assignment (the students will not know what assignment they are getting) and research that individual crew assignment. Resources used can be the library or Internet during class (outside of class students can actually contact an area news affiliate and gather information from a person actually doing the job). Information included should be the responsibilities of the specific assignment, the importance of the crew assignment, how it benefits the production team, the education required to pursue this career, technical knowledge required and starting salary.
Anticipatory Set (Day 1):
Pass out Handout “Lesson 10” to students
Ask students for examples of team work
To introduce to students individual roles in the news room while emphasizing the importance of all of these individual roles coming together and working as a team with one goal: to produce a show.
Input (Day 1):
Show a segment of the evening news focusing on the anchor
Ask students what they think goes into producing the show
Stress the importance of team work and team building
Model (Day 1 and 2):
Pick out a crew assignment from the hat
Write the crew assignment on the chalk/white board
Tell students what you expect from the paper they will be writing:
A two to three double-spaced, type-written paper
Use and cite at least four sources
Student job is to thoroughly research the crew assignment, paying close attention to:
Job salary (low/median/high)
How this crew assignment fits in with the overall news production
Whether or not this job is something the student would want to do
Why or why not
Check for Understanding (Day 2 or 3):
Tell students they will be given a quiz on the crew assignment definitions (this can be Day 2 or Day 3 of the lesson)
Guided Practice (ongoing)
Since most of the written assignment will be done in class, the teacher will be available for any questions or guidance required to complete the assignment.
Closure (Day 4 and 5)
Students will present their research to the class as a presentation.
Students can continue with their research by exploring internship opportunities to learn a more “hands-on” approach to the crew assignments. With the help of the teacher, develop relationships with local PEGs (Government/Educational Access Channels), broadcast affiliates and other media outlets to create this type of internship program or contact student television/broadcast journalism organizations for help in developing these types of programs. The following links are good resources for teachers and students:
Integration into live broadcast
Crew assignments will always be at the forefront of a broadcast. It is recommended that each student performs a different crew assignment throughout the class to ensure cross-training. This is also a great way for students to discover which assignment they enjoy the most.
National Educational Standards Met
Language Arts, Standard 1: Read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information, to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace, and for personal fulfillment.
Language Arts, Standard 4: Adjust their use of spoken, written and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
Language Arts, Standard 7: Conducts research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. Gather, evaluate and synthesize data from a variety of sources to communicate discoveries in ways that suit purpose and audience.
Language Arts, Standard 8: Use a variety of technological and information resources to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
Technology, Standard 4: Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.
Technology, Standard 5: Uses technology to locate, evaluate and collect information from a variety of sources.
Technology, Standard 6: Uses technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions; employs technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.