By Carrie Miller
I would say a lot of my time in this position was running teleprompter, pulling file footage and getting scripts ready. It wasn’t until I asked to shadow the producer overnight that I really benefited from the experience. Looking back, I wish I had asked sooner. I was lucky enough to be assigned to two positions at News12 this semester. Working as a production assistant, I was able to shadow producers, seeing how the show makes it to air. I have always seen myself in the control room. There’s something appealing about the organized chaos that goes on there. I thought, perfect, I can get a real feel for what this is like. I worked with one producer in particular and was able to see start to finish as he picked stories, assigned writers and secured the rundown. Seeing the process and how it translates to what you see on air has been invaluable.
The other half of my time at News12 I spent assisting reporters in the field. I was assigned to Eileen Lehpamer, a seasoned reporter who has covered everything from presidential debates to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. For each story we followed she explained how she would go about reporting it. As facts came in sometimes her plan would change- but that’s what made it exciting. Every day was a new story. There were times she would be chosen to go live on location, and many of these times we would scramble to finish her package in time for air. When we had the time, I would shoot stand-ups and write the story as I would cover it. She would then go over it with me, giving me advice. I went to everything from LIPA press conferences, to criminal court hearings, and to the homes of Sandy victims, learning how to cover different types of stories.
I loved going to the station those days, not knowing where the day would take me. I was lucky enough to be assigned to a reporter who took the time to help me. When you see how stories come together in the real world, under the pressure of an eight hour deadline, it gives you a different understanding of the news cycle. Having a week or so to work on a package wasn’t an option. You need to understand what the story is, then hit the ground running. And I literally ran on more than one occasion. Before News12, I really only had eyes on becoming a producer. Now, I see reporting as a career option.