TV News Producer Job Description:
A TV news producer usually spends the entire workday inside the station, unlike a TV news reporter who will be out gathering stories all day. While TV news producers must work closely with the news anchors, it is vital to have a good working relationship with just about everyone else in the building.
Salary Range for a TV News Producer:
The payoff is that good producers are always in demand, even in a bad economy. So you can find yourself either moving up to a larger TV market quickly or shifting into more managerial roles such as executive producer or assistant news director.
Because a TV news producer is off camera, that person isn't judged based on physical appearance. A producer will never earn as much as a top anchor at any TV station, but a producer is often brought in for planning discussions, focus groups and other closed-door meetings that anchors aren't invited to attend.
Education and Training Required to Become a TV News Producer:
With the enormous responsibility of managing a newscast, a command of media law, simple grammar and TV production techniques is also critical. A producer is often the person having to explain to the boss when a newscast is full of technical or editorial mistakes, so quality control is also important.
Special Skills Needed to Be a TV News Producer:
A TV news producer will be instructed on the branding goals at the TV station. This may come from the news director or from the station's news consultant. The producer will be expected to understand these brand-building directives and make sure that every newscast follows the template. That can be as simple as knowing the 5 p.m. newscast should be crafted to appeal to women in the 25-54 age demographic or being told that the newscast must contain three live shots every day.
A Typical Day for a TV News Producer:
When the evening anchors arrive in the afternoon, the producer is often the person who briefs them on the day's news and goes over the plans for the newscast. In the case of breaking news, a producer must be ready to respond -- even if that means scrapping all the plans made for the newscast and starting over late in the day.
Producers must love to write, because they generate plenty of scripts. They also decide which graphics to use on the newscast and when maps are needed on the air. Many help make decisions on which reporters will be live in the field.
A station's producers also have to work with each other to ensure there's continuity between newscasts. A 6 p.m. producer will get the late news producer up to speed when that person gets to work. If there's a problem, like a misspelling on a graphic, a producer will alert the next producer so that the same error doesn't get back on the air.
Common Misconceptions about a TV News Producer:
TV news producing isn't grunt work. Nor is it a job for people who want to stay by themselves in a cubicle all day. It takes a great deal of leadership ability and team-building skills. Add to that a massive attention to detail so that everything comes together at air time.
Getting Started as a TV News Producer:
Because TV is a visual medium, the best producers think in pictures and are always asking themselves how something will look on the screen. So good video shooting and editing skills can help a producer mentally put a newscast together.
It's no wonder why so many TV news executives got their start as newsroom producers. If they can create daily half-hour newscasts, it's actually less stressful to run the entire news department.