Lessons from the Future

I teach a Television News Producing class. It meets twice a week. The goal of each class to create a newscast. During the semester the length of that newscast grows, right now we are at 13 minutes of content. It may not seem like a lot, but those of you who have produced know it can be a challenge. Two reporters put together a package and do a live shot, there is a weather person, a sports person and two anchors, in all, there are 14 students in the class this semester. The students work together to get the show on the air in just three hours.  Producers, you understand how much of a challenge this can become. The students choose the content, and how it is presented.

I am not here to brag about what a great newscast these students create each class, in fact, there are always mistakes and things that could be done better.  This is a learning experience after all. However, the lessons go beyond proper broadcast style writing, knowing which story is the lead, and a reporter is ready for a live shot. This class is a lesson in teamwork and trust.

The students have learned quickly if one brick falls the walls will come down. If you have a person who does not load video correctly, it will fail, if there is no spell check on lower-thirds you fail, and if the person running prompter does not pay attention, that’s right you fail. Most semester when I teach this course the pressure is high, and it takes several weeks for the students to “click” and learn to work together. Not this semester. This particular group of students has from day one displayed a sense of unity, teamwork, and compassion.

As a group, these students seem to understand everyone learns at a different pace and in different ways, and rather than get frustrated when a student is struggling they pitch in and help. However, they do not do the work for the student; instead, they mentor and explain. They all have the same goal, create the best newscast possible. When a student is having a tough day, they rally and help. There is no bickering, no comments of one person not pulling their weight in the newsroom, just a combined goal to get it done.

There is a lesson to be learned here, that compassion and understanding in the workplace can result in success. How many of us have gotten caught up in the negative attitude of a newsroom and done nothing?  A new approach may make the world of difference. Embracing the individuality of each person on the team, and helping them be successful will benefit everyone.

I hear from so many people that the next generation does not work hard, they are not focussed, and just don’t get “it.” Maybe it is the older generations that need to sit back and learn. I am quite impressed by the character of the students in my classroom each semester.



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