The home stretch

My senior project is almost complete.  Everything is due in 6 days, and I’ll give my presentation in 7 days. One week left of this project and then I will have completed the most intensive part of my degree.

I can tell it’s the end of the semester. There are a lot of homework assignments to finish, I’ve stopped caring about my appearance, and I stress cry at least once a day just to feel better. I’m tired, emotionally drained, getting sick, and still have work ahead of me. I’m really glad the worst will be over in exactly one week.

As for my actual project, it seems like some people are in the groove, want to just push through and finish strong to the end. Other people are letting the end of the semester stress weigh them down. These last two weeks are going to be the most challenging from a leader’s standpoint. How can I motivate people who have a million other things they need to work on, to give this one thing their best?

I try really hard not to take it personal when people don’t work hard, but I it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong. I’m not encouraging enough, or helping enough, or something … At the end of the day, I keep trying to remind myself that if people don’t want to do their best and put their best foot forward that is their choice. There is only so much I can do. I can’t control what they choose to do, I can only control how I choose to respond.

This project has been extremely eye-opening from a leadership standpoint. It takes a lot more than strong will and organization to make a good leader.  I haven’t figured out what exactly it does take, but I’ve definitely been challenged this semester.

Turning Tables

After our first week debrief meeting, the TV news class really seemed to kick everyone in gear. Stories got shot early, scripts were written on time. Thursday before the newscast, Tricia and I were just sitting around waiting for the show to start for a few hours.

It was like a complete turnaround. It seemed like everyone was starting to get it – to take ownership of the project themselves. They saw now what it took to put together a show like this, and they were starting to contribute in a helpful way.

The show didn’t run perfect though. Obviously … when is anything perfect? The show had too many stories in it, and during the show things had to be cut and rearranged. It confused the crew and the anchors … we hadn’t exactly figured out the best way to communicate to everyone. Tricia did great though, and so did Jeremy the director for the evening. There were plenty of learning opportunities throughout the night as curveballs were thrown every which way.

At the end of the day, I don’t feel like we improved as much as we could have in end product. This newscast wasn’t better than our first – it was probably the same quality. The quality wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t a step up like I had hoped.

I’m worried that this week, people are starting to get tired of doing this every week. It’s only week three but I feel like it’s getting harder to keep people motivated. It’s the end of the semester and everyone has other class projects, papers, and tests that conveniently fall at the end of the semester. Finding the balance between this class and other classes is getting more difficult.

Overall, I still think there’s a lot of room for growth, but I’m encouraged by the progress I’m seeing in different people week by week.  It’s been a long journey, and we’re almost halfway … but there is a lot left to journey through before we’re done.

Spectrum News

So I’ve shared a lot about my senior project journey, but I haven’t really shown any examples of what I’m doing! It’s hard to explain without visuals, so I’ll do my best now that I have some good visuals to showcase!

Early in the semester, I designed the website … which meant figuring out the glitches, the theme, how to post, how it would work for others in the class. I also had to design the banner for the top of the page.  The website is used to direct people to our live stream on Thursday nights, post written stories and corresponding videos, and to link to our newscast archive.

I produced the first newscast that the class did. No one else in the class has produced TV live before, so it was up to me to set the example and get the show started off on the right foot. Here’s that episode … feel free to watch if you have time, it’s about 14 minutes long (we cut out commercials for the web version … lucky you!)

So that’s my senior project in a nutshell!

Delegation

It’s hard to delegate without trust.

It’s hard to have trust when people don’t follow through.

My senior project is turning into more than TV. It’s more than a newscast, more than producing. It’s about leadership … and communication. Zing.

Here’s what I learned this week: you can try and light a fire under someone, but unless you pour some lighter fluid on them nothing’s going to spark. In non-metaphorical terms … motivation is a dying art. I tried to communicate everything that needed to get done. I tried to delegate. I tried to give enough helpful information without people feeling babysat or bogged down. But at the end of the day, few people listened.

Don’t get me wrong … not everyone did a bad job. Overall, our first official Spectrum Newscast turned out very good. But I feel like there was a lot for me to do today (the day of the show) that should have been something that was done sooner. And there really weren’t excuses for that except laziness and procrastination.

Lack of communication to me was the most frustrating part of the week. I tried to get updates, I tried to find out who was doing what when. I can only do so much before I get a restraining order for harassment. E-mails, texts, phone calls … even facebook chats when I had to. It’s impossible to coordinate a show when you have no idea where things stand.

This week will hopefully be better.  I tried to throw my whole heart and soul into this show to set the bar high. Producing is not an easy job, and making everything else happen along with that is even more of a challenge.  This coming week, I’ll truly be just the executive producer and not trying to do everything else on top of that.