Atvn Assignment Desk

Annenberg TV News is USC’s television-multimedia news operation. ATVN produces a live nightly newscast at 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, that airs campus-wide on Trojan Vision. ATVN also produces exclusive web content.

ATVN welcomes all USC students regardless of major or class standing. To get involved with ATVN, you MUST attend our Open House held during the second week of each semester. Please check our calendar to see the date and time of our Open House.

Every semester, a new staff of students takes command of the newscasts. Students working for ATVN are encouraged to learn and practice as many different skills as possible in order to advance and prepare for their careers. Students learn to make editorial decisions under deadline pressure; to write, shoot and edit; and to use software, cameras and studio equipment found in professional newsrooms. With hard work, they can become proficient in using technology including AVID iNews, Avid NewsCutter non-linear editing, Adobe Photoshop and AfterEffects. Editorial understanding and technology skills make our graduates competitive in media operations across the country.

If you are currently enrolled in JOUR 203, JOUR 303, or JOUR 306 and are a broadcast journalism major, you must fulfill a learning lab requirement at ATVN. These are the positions that are associated with the learning lab requirement for the following core curriculum courses:
JOUR 203 – Studio Crew/Graphics/Assignment Desk (2-hour shift per week)
JOUR 303 – Writer/Shooter/Editor (4-hour shift per week), Studio Crew/Graphics/Assignment Editor (two 2-hour shifts per week)
JOUR 306 – Writer/Shooter/Editor (4-hour shift per week)

If you take J402 reporting or J403 producing in your junior or senior year (or as a second-year grad student, see below), you will fulfill a learning lab shift at ATVN.
J402 - Reporter (all-day shift every other week, plus evergreen packaging for ATVN on alternating weeks)
J403 - Newscast Producer (all-day shift each week)

If you are a non-major interested in earning 2 course units for your ATVN work through JOUR 210x, you must see Associate Director Stacy Scholder at the Open House to discuss your weekly assignment.

Whether you are a core learning lab student, journalism-major volunteer or non-major volunteer, you are encouraged to try as many positions as you can fit into your schedule. Volunteers typically start either at the assignment desk or on graphics/studio shifts, but there may be opportunities to work your way up to becoming writer/shooter/editors, reporters and anchors.

Special note to graduate students:

If your goal is to become a reporter, a newscast producer, segment producer or multimedia journalist after you graduate, you may want to find time to take J402 reporting and/or J403 producing (both these classes do include graduate and undergraduate students) in your second year. In those courses, you will report or produce for ATVN. You can also choose to take J499 News/Sports Multimedia Production in your second year to combine your broadcast storytelling skills with multimedia skills. To become familiar with the workings of ATVN and the basic skills involved BEFORE you take those upper level courses, you are strongly encouraged to volunteer at ATVN during your first year at Annenberg.

ATVN skills have helped our graduates succeed at the network and local level. Visit our alumni section. Click on New York and California to see examples of where our graduates work on the air and behind the scenes.

Note to anchor applicants:

To be eligible to an anchor position, you must come to the Open House and sign up for an audition time. You must show up on time for your audition (deadlines and details will be provided at the Open House). You must be available from 12 - 7 p.m. on at least one day, Monday through Thursday. As a news anchor, you must be able to complete day-of-air deadline packages and cover major stories assigned by the producer of the day. If you are selected for weather or sports, you are responsible for producing your own segments. For more information, see Positions.


Annenberg TV News is open to all journalism majors and students in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. We gladly welcome students from across all disciplines to volunteer for many of the positions listed below.

NOTE: All students interested in participating in Annenberg TV News must come to the ATVN Sign-Up Day the second week of the semester to sign up for shifts and mandatory workshops. Sign-Up Day is Sept. 3, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Media center.

IN THE NEWSROOM/IN THE FIELD

Executive Producer: The executive producer (EP) is responsible for the overall look and production of each aspect of ATVN. The EP directly oversees the producer of the day by helping develop story ideas, organizing the order and flow of the show, supervising changes needed when there’s breaking news, updating the website with video packages and text articles, and supervising all personnel. The EP is also in the studio along with the producer as the show is broadcast. Executive producers also have a wide range of non-day-of-air duties, such as coordinating awards, alumni, newsroom and studio scheduling, planning events and promotions.

Producer: The day-of-air producer for ATVN is part of a two or three-student team from the Journalism 403 class.  A different team produces each day and within each team, the students rotate between being a producer or teammate (see below).  The producer is in charge of pulling together content for the show, developing it with the help of the EP and advisors, assigning stories to reporters and writers and filling in the rundown with necessary information.  The producer must have eyes and ears everywhere, continually checking the wires, adding or changing the rundown, copy editing stories and communicating with writers, reporters, editors and the director.

Video Producer Teammate: The video producer teammate is a student enrolled in Journalism 403 and is part of a rotating cycle of students. The video teammate keeps a running update of the progress of each member of the ATVN team, chooses video from Bitcentral, realizes the producer's vision of each story and accounts for each video after it has undergone the editing process. The video teammate also helps with assignment editing and editing scripts. 

Web/Graphics Producer Teammate: The web/graphics producer teammate is also a student enrolled in Journalism 403 and is part of a rotating cycle of students. This producer monitors and writes online content in the morning, keeps track of all requests for graphic elements in the show, writes cutlines for over the shoulder boxes, and copy edits scripts. 

Anchor: There are four anchors: two news anchors, one weather anchor, and one sports anchor. All anchors do much more than merely read off the teleprompter. They work a mandatory seven-hour shift (12 p.m.- 7p.m.) in which they put together stories and other elements for the newscast. News anchors must be capable of putting together quality day-of-air packages. They must have strong writing, shooting and editing skills as well as the ability to complete stories on time. Weather anchors must have strong writing, shooting and editing skills that will enable them to produce a quality mini-package for a feature every week. They must also be able to quickly learn how to create accurate, detailed, creative graphics for the weathercast. Sports anchors must have strong writing, shooting, editing and graphics skills. The sports anchor is in charge of producing their sportscast and must have strong leadership and production skills in order to train and guide sports volunteers. Interested students must sign up for auditions and workshops at the ATVN Open House and fill out application forms at the auditions. News, weather and sports anchors are chosen based on audition performance with availability, skill levels, and quantity and quality of previous ATVN work is also taken into consideration. It is recommended that students not selected for anchoring should still sign up for and fulfill other kinds of ATVN shifts to build their skills for future semesters.

The Buzz Anchor: New this year is The Buzz, a daily segment centered on the top-trending events of the day. The anchor for each day will be responsible for writing, shooting and editing two segments daily—one for the 6 p.m. show and one for the web beforehand. Each anchor will work a seven-hour shift (12 p.m.-7 p.m.) on his/her assigned day. Each anchor will be responsible for writing a corresponding piece. 

Reporter: Annenberg TV News reporters are students enrolled in Journalism 402 as well as other students who have shown strong ATVN writing, shooting and editing skills. Reporters work from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. At the start of the shift, each reporter is assigned a story by the producer. Reporter duties include making phone calls, preparing and shooting interviews, writing accurate and substantive scripts, and editing tracks, video and soundbites into finished packages. Students will also contribute to our web coverage throughout the day by using social media to transmit elements of their story, including quotes, important updates and photographs. All students are encouraged to have their own Twitter account. Interested students should apply for reporter positions at the Open House. The ATVN management team will notify candidates a few days after the Open House whether they will work as reporters (or as ATVN writer/shooter/editors to gain experience). ATVN depends on reporters to produce quality material for air.

Entertainment Reporter: This semester, ATVN will be expanding its entertainment department. Check back later for more details on how to get involved in covering the most relevant entertainment news. 

Multimedia Journalist: ATVN multimedia journalists are responsible for content that appears either on our live newscast or on our website. While in the newsroom, multimedia journalists will write stories for the newscast using Associated Press wires and iNews software, shoot interviews or b-roll for local/campus stories, and edit these stories using AVID NewsCutter software. This position also involves incorporating information and video through Bitcentral feeds. Multimedia journalists tweet in the field to update stories for our website. Duties for the web include writing, editing and uploading text articles, video clips and teases throughout the day as news breaks and video comes in from the field. 

Photojournalist: ATVN photojournalists are responsible for snapping photos of top stories of the day. Once they return from the field, they put together a slideshow of their work to be featured online. ATVN welcomes any students with a background in photojournalism to apply for the position. 

Web Supervisor: ATVN web supervisors work within the newsroom as the head of the web department during their shift. They supervise all text articles, comments, video clips, photos and teases throughout the day as news breaks and as video comes in from the field. Web managers also use social media to promote the web site and generate Twitter followers and Facebook "likes." The role of this position changes as journalism evolves.

Web Producer: Web producers ingest and cut video shot by reporters and multimedia journalists specifically for use on ATVN's website. They may also write summaries or create and post photo slideshows on Flickr or on the website. This person must have knowledge of Adobe Premiere and have good web technical abilities.

Streambox Operator: The Streambox operator handles ATVN’s state-of-the-art laptop technology in order to make live shots possible for the newscasts and special Web coverage. The Streambox operator drives to the live shot location, checks the signal, experiments with creative framing for the live shots, works closely with the reporter, feeds back material to the newsroom, and makes sure the live shot goes smoothly.  

Assignment Desk Editor: The assignment editor at ATVN is a point person for the EP, Producer, and Teammate Producers. By contributing to the morning meeting, making phone calls, scheduling interviews for reporters, developing story ideas, and keeping track of contacts, the assignment editor is a key resource. Assignment editors also keep track of campus activities and handle all news tips, and incoming information. This is a volunteer position and requires no past experience. This is a great first step toward learning one of the key reporting skills: how to come up with stories, gather information, and set up interviews.

Graphics Artist: Annenberg TV News produces a newscast filled with a variety of original graphics. Full screen maps, fact sheets, and over the shoulder graphics are only a few of the projects that graphics artists create. Adobe AfterEffects animations are also incorporated into the day’s work. Students enrolled in Journalism 300, interested volunteers, and students from the School of Fine Arts all work together to bring graphics elements to each newscast.

IN THE STUDIO

Director: The director supervises the entire broadcast from the control room. This involves communicating with other members of the crew, telling them when to switch cameras, when to roll videos, and when to cue anchors to speak. This volunteer position requires training and previous experience as a technical director.

Technical Director: The technical director (TD) has to master the switcher board. The buttons on this board determine what actually goes on the air. The TD must know how to bring different camera shots up on the screen, how to use video effects (such as wipes), and put graphics on the screen. They must be in constant communication with the director. The technical director is a volunteer position and requires previous experience as a TD Shadow.

TD Shadow: Occasionally, ATVN will schedule a person to work with the technical director during the show. The TD shadow assists the technical director with bringing in lower third graphics and learning the video switcher.  The number of TD Shadow positions is determined each semester based on need. It is a volunteer position.

Assistant Director: Assistant directors (AD) play an essential role helping the director and technical director. They provide countdowns for the director and anchors, and direct the TD to bring graphics on screen. Before the show, the AD works closely with the director, looking over the show rundown for problems that may arise. Students enrolled in J204 and 303 are given priority for this position, but students may volunteer for this position. AD requires no prior experience, and is an excellent start for those wanting to become directors or TDs.

Floor Manager: The floor manager provides a line of communication between the director and the anchors. The floor manager guides the anchors on the set by directing them to the correct cameras, giving countdowns, and signaling them to “wrap up” or “stretch.” Floor managers also communicate to the director any questions or information the anchors might have. Students enrolled in J203 and 303 are given priority for this position, but students may volunteer for this position. Floor manager requires no past experience.

Camera Operator: There are three camera operators on the set who must position the cameras in a variety of different camera shots. They also learn how to move the camera to different areas of the set during the broadcast. Students enrolled in J203 and 303 are given priority for this position, but students may volunteer for this position. Camera operator requires no past experience.

Teleprompter Operator: The teleprompter operator controls the text that appears on the camera monitor that the anchors read. This involves speeding up or slowing down the script when necessary, and compensating for ad-libbing. Teleprompter requires no past experience.

Playback Operator: The Playback operator is in charge of the video server and rolls each video element during the newscast. They have to check each video before the show, roll the videos on the director’s cues, and quickly cue up the next video. This position requires substantial communication with the director and producers to ensure all of the show’s videos are in and ready for air. Students enrolled in J203 and 303 are given priority for this position, but students may volunteer for this position. Playback operator requires no past experience.

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