NBCU Academy 101
How does a news show get on the air every day? Nnamdi Egwuonwu, segment producer for “Zerlina” on Peacock, takes us behind the scenes on the research, writing and editorial vision to make the news happen.
Most news programs are divided into several blocks or “segments,” each about a specific topic, news, story or theme. A segment producer figures out the best way to tell that story. While an anchor or host does the actual job of communicating to viewers, a segment producer works behind the scenes to make sure they have all the tools they need to do that, such as engaging videos and soundbites.
“Hard work, dedication, being willing to say yes to the shifts that nobody else wants, being willing to network and just grow and get feedback has brought me here,” Egwuonwu said. “I couldn’t be any happier.”
The Work of a Segment Producer
Egwuonwu shared what he does every day:
- Find story ideas or pitches. “I try to find things that are not only interesting, but also intriguing. If I read something and I have questions about it, a viewer or audience will almost certainly have questions as well.”
- Morning editorial meeting. “We run through a whole bunch of different ideas and conceptualize the show. We consider who the best guests would be for a specific segment, what sound or visual elements we have open to us.”
- Story assignment and writing. “The first thing I do is outline the information I want to include in my intro. That is what an anchor reads. I have to write in a way that’s conversational, that’s engaging, that makes viewers not only want to stay throughout the rest of the segment, to hear what we have to say, but also ultimately the entire show.”
- Producing. “Beyond thinking of just how I want to write, I’m thinking about what visual elements I can use, to make sure the audience can see and understand and comprehend whatever information or story I’m trying to tell them. Let’s say President Biden is unveiling a new project or initiative. I may try to get some soundbites from a press conference he does to announce it. Then I see if any elected officials across the country have commented on it. I’ll try to add that, to help provide context.”
- During the show. “I watch from my live control room monitor, which is just a little screen, for any issues I can fix. The job really doesn’t end until the show is completely over.”