There is no shortage of producer titles in television - associate producers, booking producers, senior producers, executive producers, line producers, and so on. It can be daunting to identify exactly who you are looking for when pitching a segment. Each producer is in charge of different tasks and no matter how perfectly crafted a pitch may be, if it is not in front of the right person, it will not be successful.
In this series we examine the roles of the various people that contribute to the making of television news and when to contact them for your media relations needs. In this installment of Pitching the Producers, we discuss the role of the segment producer.
What do segment producers do?
Most television programs, including reality shows, sitcoms, and dramas, are composed of “scenes;” however, television news is made up of “segments.” The difference in these two references is that scenes narrate a continuous story, while segments are a series of different, subject-specific parts. For example, a television news program can have one segment on a piece of local legislation, and immediately follow with a story on the opening of a new community center. These two subjects are totally unrelated, but within the same program. A segment producer develops the different segments within a show.
The duties of a segment producer include researching the topic of their segment, booking guests who will be participating in the segment, writing scripts, creating graphics, and building rundowns. Segments may be live, or pre-recorded. If pre-recorded, often segment producers are in charge of editing their own segments as well.
When to contact a segment producer with a pitch?
You should contact a segment producer if you are pitching a topic or segment idea. Examples include a segment on a new book or movie that you are working to gain publicity for, or a public affairs campaign for which you are hoping to gain support. When pitching a segment idea, it is always in your best interest to provide a timely news hook to lend pertinence to the issue.
It is often helpful if you provide an individual who is available to give an interview or comment on the subject. For a live segment, the individual should provide talking points to the producer beforehand and be prepared to speak on them for three to five minutes. For a pre-recorded segment, the interview is likely to last much longer, and will be edited down to worthy soundbites for the final package.
In future installments of “Pitching the Producers,” we will examine the roles of various producers and how you can be successful when pitching them!