Lights, Camera … Take Action: What it’s like to work on live television with TakePart Live’s Alex Jeffries

TakePart Live's Alex Jeffries

Alex Jeffries, a segment producer on pivot network’s TakePart Live.

Working in live television isn’t for everyone — with deadline pressures, the need to rethink and change things on the fly and of course the occasional wardrobe malfunction. But for those who enjoy the thrill, it’s a rewarding and exciting way to make a living.

To learn more about what it’s like behind the cameras, we recently talked with Alex Jeffries, a segment producer on pivot network’s TakePart Live evening news show, about his day-to-day routines and what it was that got him into this line of work:

Q. How would you describe your job in three sentences?

A. On each show, we’re put in charge of a segment of the show, which can either be a guest or one of the established franchise segments. If it’s a guest, we assemble photos and videos to play during the segment, conduct a pre-interview to get ideas for the conversation, and work directly with our hosts to shape the interview. If it’s the franchise segment, like NewsVille, Tech Affect or Climate Report, then that typically involves research, writing and booking a guest or an expert. We also have daily pitch meetings, where we’re responsible for bringing news stories for that day’s episode and guest ideas for future shows.

Q. What is the best part of your job every day?

A. Being on the floor as the show we’ve been working on throughout the day comes together — you don’t always have time to know what your co-workers are putting together, so it’s great to see their work pay off.

Q. So what was it that made you want to get into this line of work?

A. I really enjoy the immediacy of the work, and the ability to start and foster all kinds of conversations. That you’re able to take a germ of an idea and realize it within a matter of days — or a single day — is pretty unique to TV.

Q. And what did your path to TakePart Live look like? Was it filled with internships and getting coffee?

A. I actually began working in TV at UCLA’s college station, and I did intern at a television studio and a show, which led to my first job in daytime talk television. After a few seasons of that and some time on a primetime interview show, I found my way to TakePart Live.

Q. So you aren’t turned off by the pressures of live TV? I mean, anything can happen!

A. During the show everything is in flux, and in order to keep the show to time segments get adjusted on the fly. The pressure, then, of a daily live show comes from needing to be prepared, and knowing your guest or your segment so well that you can make calls on where to cut or what to add.

Q. What makes TakePart Live different?

A. Our show is different than many others because of what it provides each day — a funny and informative breakdown of relevant news; an in-depth discussion of that news with experts, professionals, and advocates; as well as interviews with actors, artists and engaged members of our community. As a staff, we actively work toward a breadth of subject matter.

Q. How can someone get into this line of work?

A. Internships are a great way of figuring out which aspect of television you’d like to pursue. Likewise, reaching out to shows and companies you’d want to work for and asking those employees how they got where they are can help you figure out your own path. Keep an eye out for job postings. There isn’t one universal place, so monitor a few.

If live television sounds like it could be for you, then apply today to work as an associate producer with Jeffries and his colleagues on TakePart Live through Monster’s Cool Job program. But hurry, the application window closes on Nov. 19; apply today:

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