Broadcast Town Meeting: Have you ever pushed back a deadline?
We continue our Q and A with a panel of broadcast teachers from across the country. This time, our topic is the “D” word.
Have you ever pushed back a deadline? Why? Why not?
A—“Yes. We broadcasted our show during a weekly advisement period and had to swap dates before because we just weren’t ready. Drop dead deadlines for students at this level don’t necessarily feed the learning engine the way we might hope. Beginners need motivating deadlines, but creating artificial stress for students who are exploring a new interest and are neophytes to many of the 21st century skills we want to develop is counterproductive.”
-Jon Reese, Decatur High School, Decatur GA
A—“Umm, yes. Bottom line, this is a school and things are not always in your control. Last minute things the admins want you to do, snow days, equipment issues… all of these things have caused us to push back some deadlines. At Broward Teen News (my previous position) the deadlines were super strict because we were feeding a licensed broadcast station. The production manager wasn’t a happy guy if our show was not ready that month. Obviously the daily show has tight deadlines that can’t be missed, but the other shows have a little bit of flexibility provided we give enough notice. Honestly, deadlines are a constant battle for me. I’m usually really hard on them about this.”
-Jeb Brunt, Norwood High School, Norwood, MA
A—“No, not really, I mean sometimes a kid may have issues like a death in the family or illness, and you work with them on that… that’s just having a heart, but our deadlines are rarely ever missed. Because we have only four edit bays, the students have assigned editing dates and they know they must have all interviews, b-roll, scripts, slate/log papers, backtime sheets, etc. ready by their editing dates or their story will not happen. Often, I feel like our “lack” of equipment results in meeting deadlines more often than not. I have heard horror stories from other advisers about students who do not meet deadlines; this is a rare event on our staff.”
-Michelle Turner, Washington High School, Washington MO
A—“Yes when I did not feel like the show was ready to go. I did not want to broadcast a show that was not worth viewing.”
-Steve Vaughn, Royse City High School, Royse City TX
A—“Yes… sometimes because of an event at school… last year’s winter weather at the start of second semester caused us to change our schedule, too… technical issues have also forced us to postpone the broadcast of our show to our high school students.”
-Jeff Kuchno, Oakville High School, St. Louis MO
A—“Yes, I’m sometimes flexible when it comes to deadlines. I may give students extra time if they encounter a challenge beyond their control or I feel like I underestimate how long it takes for students to complete a project. I’m constantly tweaking the curriculum and projects each year, and if I feel like I didn’t allow enough time for something, I’ll adjust the schedule. Coming from a career in broadcast news, we had strict deadlines, of course, but if something fell through midday because of something out of the reporter’s control, that story would likely be postponed or dropped, and the reporter would switch to Plan B. I still have that mentality.”
-Pam Dixon, Lake Charles-Boston Academy of Learning, Lake Charles, LA
A—“SPN TAKE FIVE never pushes back a deadline because we air at a set time. For the other shows, I have pushed back a deadline if a student is struggling (but working) or if they have had trouble setting up an interview. If I know that the content will be better if they are given an extra day or two, I allow it. I want the best, most professional, content to air. I also believe that students learn more from working and making mistakes and fixing those mistakes. If that means that they have an extended deadline, then I will allow that. I have never had this policy fail me. Every time I allow an extension, the student produces something better.”
-Dee Harris, Bixby High School, Bixby OK
A—“I’ve never pushed back a deadline; I have, however, changed show dates due to unexpected travel dates. Though they wait until the last minute most of the time, the students know that their segments will not air if their segment is not in on time. My News Directors know that they need to stand firm with this expectation as well. I stand firm because I believe that they need to learn how to reach deadlines. Meeting deadlines is a skill just about EVERY job will require. Learning how to overcome obstacles to reach that deadline is a lesson in and of itself. I also make sure to celebrate those successes to reinforce this expectation.”
-Elaine McDonald, Lee’s Summit High School, Lee’s Summit MO
A—“Very rarely, we have a pretty set schedule with no leeway.”
-Steve Cortez, Blue Valley Southwest High School, Overland Park KS
2 thoughts on “Broadcast Town Meeting: Have you ever pushed back a deadline?”
I agree with Jon Reese about being flexible with younger storytellers. Creating artificial stress is not beneficial when they are learning higher level skills! While I am tough on students meeting deadlines for our daily news show, I am also understanding when they are working on longer form projects for our other publications. I want the stories to be the best they can be and sometimes that takes a little extra time for teenagers!
My background was college and high school newspaper before I got into teaching broadcasting. Deadlines were carved in granite. So my inclination when I started was to copy that approach with HTV. I would say now, though, I push deadline two or three times a year for various reasons. Last year we missed nine snow days, and that played havoc with everything we were trying to do. One of the joys of living where there is harsh winter weather. I love Jon’s perspective on creating “artificial stress” as well.