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  • Writer's pictureIndiaLily

What is an ITV Production Journalist?

It has been a while...I'm now nearly a year into my ITV role and loving it.


Back in March 2023 I was offered the role of a Production Journalist at ITV West Country in Bristol and I genuinly cried on the phone because I could not believe it. When I first interviewed with ITV, I never thought my second 'proper' journalism job would be with them.


I fall between being a pessimist and realist, so when I was interviewing, I was giving it my all, but I never thought I'd be successful. When I told my parents what interviews I'd had one week they asked me 'if you got all three offers, what's you're order of preference?' and I said this role because I knew I wanted to branch out into broadcast journalism. This was the perfect job for it - mixing what I knew from digital journalism and moving into producing. When that call came, my knees gave way, I cried, and was on cloud nine for a long time.


Now that I've been there a while I thought I'd actually explain what it is that I do. When I knew I wanted to move on from my first job in Sussex, I assumed London would be the next step. I had it in my head it was a right of passage for every journalist to do a stint in London. However, that is not the case. If anything, people told me how good regional news is for you to develop. As you're in a smaller pond, it means there's room for that growth. Whereas in London (and I'm just going off advice I was given), as there's so many of you in one place trying to impress, it can be harder to climb that ladder. Don't get me wrong, I haven't ruled out London one day, but Bristol is home for a while now.



Shifts for a Production Journalist (PJ from now on):


First thing I learnt in the newsroom, there's so many acronyms! SOT, ANE, PJ, PS, IV, ULAY...it's a whole new language. Anyway...as a PJ there's six shift types which really shows how varied the role (one of the reasons I wanted to go into journalism in the first place):


Planning -

The clue is in the name with this one. You're finding stories to fill the programmes. Once you have a story idea you need to make it happen - arrange interviews and shoots for the on screen journalists (OSJs) to film. You essentially get the balls rolling, and then the OSJs finish it off and get it on screen.

When I first arrived I was put into the role of planning a lot of the coronation content. On the Friday show (the day before the coronation) the content I'd set up filled the majority of the show and I felt so proud. Since then I've been in the planning role more and it's so exciting to see your ideas make it on screen. Plus I love organising things so this role was right up my street.


Digital -

This is quite self explanatory. You're writing content for the website, working under the digital editor. This role is similar to what I was doing before, however in this case I'm covering seven counties rather than one!


Assistant news editor -

You're essentially at the mercy of the news editor and the producers for this one. They give you jobs to do all day in order to make sure the programme is good to go. This could mean finding on-the-day interviews, editing videos, writing scripts, doing zoom interviews to add to a piece...the list is endless! I love this role because of how varied it is and how much you contribute to the main programme. On one shift I was editing a video to go in the show and less than five minutes later it was on live tele!





Early producer -

You come in at 5am and it's up to you to produce the breakfast and lunch bulletins, as well as getting the website going for the day before the digital team come in at 9am. It's a lot of responsibility because you're leading the way for those first few hours. Not only do you write scripts and edit the videos to make the bulletins, you're also in the gallery in the ear of the presenter to keep everything on track in terms of timings. That's the side of the shift I found more difficult at first because I haven't used my brain for number work in a long time, but nevertheless - I love the buzz of it. The 4am alarm doesn't bother me much either because you clock off around 1pm and then you've got your afternoon!


Late producer -

This is like the early shift - you're producing the shorter bulletins. This time it's the late bulletin around 10.30pm, and then prepping the breakfast bulletins for the next morning.

When I first shadowed this shift I felt so overwhelmed because there's so much to do. You've got to come in on the back foot because it's 2.30pm and everyone else already knows what's going on. Then you're making a rough plan for your late bulltins, working out if you need anything from the reporters out on the road, and then turning your attention to the breakfast bulletins (GMBs).

It's a lot to do but a few days into training I found the rhythm with it and now really like the shift. You're never without something to do, and as a result it flies by!



Weekend producer -

Finally...the weekend bulletins. You plan as much as you can on the Friday - setting up shoots for your reporters, doing interviews over zoom, and looking for weekend stories.

On the weekend itself you're essentially the news editor, digital editor, and producer. You have to keep in touch with national if they want anything you're doing, keep the website fresh, and work with your presenter to produce the bulletins.

I've done a few weekends now and feel it is the hardest shift for a PJ because you have so much responsibility, but so far so good.


How I'm finding my new life in Bristol...


Honestly this move could not have gone any better. The PJ group are all similar ages and a lot of us moved here for the job, so we socialise with each other a lot. It's such a friendly group and I feel so settled as a result. I love the job, but the people there just make it even better.

If you'd told me this time last year this is where I'd be now, I never would have believed you.

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