Producing is a stressful job. Never has this been more evident to
me than today.  I should mention that it’s currently 2:17am and
I’m operating on 3 hours of sleep.  I was one of the few people
who were awake at 6:30 am on New Year’s Day and not drunk from the
night before.  Breakfast was with a reporter crew at 6:45 am when
we promptly started to harass Mitt Romney’s press secretary. 
Reporter Keith McGilvery and Photog Andrew Laub were scheduled to
follow Romney on the campaign trail all day, and Station Manager (and
ruler of my Universe) Marsha Della Giustina and I were desperate to
get them on the campaign bus.  By 7:15 we had placed calls to
Associated Press reporters, the Boston Fox25 station, campaign
offices, and left voicemails with the Romney press secretary. 
That was in edition to emailing most of these people.  Might I
add, I was on the phone while I was fixing my first cup of coffee for
the day.  By 7:30 we had heard from the campaign and gotten
permission to be on the bus.  It was a resounding success and a
pretty good way to start one’s day (even if the sun wasn’t yet
up.)  Unfortunately, both Keith and Andy missed the bus pick
up.  But it worked out in the end because GPS got them to
locations before the press bus!  Shortly after I had said goodbye
to my first crew, the second left for a Hillary Clinton event in
Ames.  Having wasted an evening at Clinton the night before (New
Year’s Eve)  the crew was eager to get there early to get a good
spot (they did).  With two of my “babies” now gone, I thought I
could take a breather.  But then it happened.  The first
Broadcast News moment of the day.  I sat by myself in our
meeting room, Bluetooth in ear, surrounded my papers, staring at my
computer screen when I just burst into tears.  I was overcome by
the sheer stress of the past few days and the anxious anticipation of
the ones to come.  For those who are unfamiliar with the 1987
film that most every journalist can identify with, Holly Hunter plays
a young producer for a news operation in Washington, D.C.  and
everyday after her show has finished, she went to her desk and
cried.  As, I sat there with big ole crocodile tears streaming
down my face, I thought of that character.  I’ve yet to decide if
so closely identifying with a fictional character is a good idea or
perhaps the result of sleep deprivation.

The stress having
been released in liquid form, I was able to get back to the task at
hand.  Logistical reasons necessitated that I return to the field
to help cover some events.  I went out with reporter Phil
Milnarik to cover a Senator Joe Biden event.  Phil is great at
one man banding events.  A true testament to his skill: is that
his laptop has Final Cut and he logged and cut footage from the back
seat of the car as we drove.  My job at the Biden event was to
shoot with the still camera and get some good shots for the
website.  Shooting stills is something I love to do (almost as
much as producing).  It’s hard to put into words just how I feel
when I know I’ve gotten the shot.  I zigged zagged my way
through the crowd up to the front for shots of the Senator just before
he came on stage, shots of him addressing voters and mingling with the
crowd after.  I filled three flashcards!  After the event
was over though it was once again time to put on my producing hat.

Back at HQ (the meeting room at the Best Western Hotel in
Clive) I had more logistical issues.  The schedule for the
following day still had to be created and blocked out.  There are
times when I feel more like an assignment desk manager than a producer
but when you’re on your own, you’re more a jack of all trades
anyways.  Tomorrow’s (Wednesday) schedule presented us with our
biggest logistical challenges yet.  People didn’t want to wake up
early to drive 40 miles to cover a candidate we needed to get, others
wanted to cover different candidates, it was a nightmare.  In the
end it required that several of us put our heads together and sort it
all out.  I was at the point where I couldn’t see the forest
through the trees.  I had been staring at the same piece of paper
and was expecting to see something new.  In the moment when I was
“rescued” (because that’s how I see it) I could feel another
Broadcast News moment coming.  I held that one in until
the schedule was sorted out on a white board.  Once the schedule
was set, people filtered off to bed.  I stayed to transcribe the
true team collaboration that was the schedule.  And then it hit
again, Broadcast News.  Before I knew it, I had tears
streaming down my face and I was fighting to breath.  I was alone
with the weight of the world on my shoulders (or so it felt then) and
I couldn’t turn off the waterworks.  I needed a way to release
the stress of this whole week.  I’d never be able to sleep unless
I did get some sleep (not that I get to sleep much anyways).  

Sitting in the meeting room now (it’s currently 2:45am) I can
look back on my Broadcast News moments of the day.  Some
might see it is a weakness, a sign that I’m soft and can’t take the
pressure of producing.  I prefer to look at is as a personality
trait of my producing style. I don’t fear these moments now. I embrace
them.  They are an integral part of who I am as a producer, and
most importantly, they are another tool that allows me to do my job
successfully. I am a producer and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Good Night (or shall I say Good Morning)