A look into Good Morning Illini – October 23, S5E06

by Shelbi Voss

I’ll admit, the days leading up to this episode were nerve-wracking. Coming back from the third episode of this season was going to be a challenge, and I wanted to make sure that this episode would improve upon everything I learned three weeks before.

Producing a news program during a pandemic is a challenge in itself, but one that focuses on a campus doing everything it can to keep its students safe is an even more daunting one. The fact that we have been light on content at the start of the last few weeks is great in terms of the choices students are making, but for a newsroom, it means we have to do deep searching to keep the program interesting.

After my own brainstorming and that of my team we were able to come up with good pieces. I try my best to have some sense of light in my shows, rather than droning on about what the pandemic has taken away from us. Letting viewers know that there is hope for what we perceive as “normal” is just as important as keeping them updated on more serious topics.

When I stepped into the producer role I knew that I wanted to make the process as easy as possible for the entire crew, and each week I find that it is imperative to be that leader for the members.

But being a leader does not mean being a puppet master.

As much as someone who strives for perfection wishes for total control, it is simply not possible. You have to put trust in the people you are working with and give them the tools to produce work to the highest standard. Producing is helping me learn to do just that. I like to have everything in order and be sure that a plan is being executed as expected. I am definitely the type to fill your inbox with check-ins just to be sure you are on track. Annoying? Sure. Calming? Definitely. But it is impossible to know every step of progress that each content producer makes during the week. Learning to loosen the reins is something that I have started to progress with this semester. And I only hope that growth continues.

Friday morning was quite literally the calm before the storm. The time leading up to the show was smooth, relaxed and easy. We had a few read-throughs, the Zoom audio worked, and the biggest problem we had was a broken printer. I knew that everything was where it needed to be, but the possibility of something going wrong during the time we were live kept me on edge until 10:30 a.m.

But as I learned before, this crew is one to trust. They executed their jobs very well, listened to one another and stayed focused the entire time, leaving us with a pretty good show. The anchors both grabbed me with their enthusiasm and conducted great live interviews (yes, Zoom worked twice in one show!)

All in all, episode six left me feeling much better than episode three. Despite a number of curveballs thrown at the crew and me throughout the week, we finished it off with a good show.

I am looking forward to the final four weeks of production and what stories we can find. In the meantime I’ll be doing what I can to set us up for smooth sailing for episode nine on November 13, 2020.

Be sure to catch my final solo produced episode on Friday the 13th. It may just be spookier than this week’s Halloween episode!