The primary duty of a bureau producer involves handling remote shots each day for the morning and evening news broadcasts, both locally and in the field.
Furthermore, the bureau producer is expected to produce the field elements along with the correspondent and crew for the broadcasts. The bureau producer is expected to respond to breaking news stories and direct a field team to be in place to report for all platforms. When the situation warrants, the producer can also act as a camera operator and a booking producer. The producer having a unique vantage point on the ground should regularly pitch stories and angles. Bureau producers who have weekend days in their schedule must have strong writing/reporting/package assembly skills.
Stamina – A strong candidate must be willing to work long hours when warranted. On breaking news events and stories that multiple platforms take offers from, a typical day will start before sunrise and go beyond sunset. This position involves a lot of travel, including travel between multiple assignments. The job also places one in situations of social unrest or when populations are desperate following a natural disaster or attack. A bureau producer must also endure being out in the elements during extreme weather events such as hurricanes and blizzards. And in less extreme events, trials.
Communication – A strong candidate will be able to effectively juggle communicating information to the North Bureau Chief, senior leadership at each news platform, control rooms, assignment desks, and their field team. A bureau producer coordinates transmission windows for live shots and feeds to the bureaus. Additionally, the producer scouts locations to create a dynamic remote shot when possible. As referenced earlier, being on the ground may give you keen insight to something those remotely are missing. It’s important to pitch these ideas and contribute to original reporting when possible.
Sense of Urgency – Must have an ability to work well under pressure to make deadlines for the news programs. Includes travelling the day of a story and setting up to go live in time for air. A bureau producer realizes the expediency of driving to a location when the flight schedule isn’t convenient, especially in the pandemic environment. Urgency also involves working with to confirm editorial as a story is unfolding.
Flexibility – A strong candidate understands the nature of the new industry in that those who are in the field are subject to unpredictable, last-minute travel. A bureau producer must have a “go-bag” ready to leave at a moment’s notice and be in the field up to one or two weeks. This includes being in the field and working through regular days off though compensation days are provided. This position will include at least one weekend day as a catching producer who assembles packages as part of their regular work week.
Editorial – At least five years experience working on a news broadcast, assignment desk and/or newsgathering in the field is required.
Technical – A background in using prosumer cameras. Bureau producers regularly gather their own elements for stories and can operate as an additional camera when crew colleagues are present. On occasion or when travelling internationally, the producer is responsible for shooting the live shot. Fluency in transmitting footage via LiveU/FTP/Sony Ci/etc.
Temperament - As the point person of your field team, having a good disposition and keeping your group’s morale up is imperative. Fluid logistics, lack of sleep, long hours and less ideal environmental circumstances will certainly challenge your team, but you must keep the unit together to be cohesive and productive as possible.