inside baseball on the trust network

I love my job. Okay, I like it a lot. All right, I’m just really, really good at it. Great. You got me. No, actually, everything is fine. I’m doing something I never dreamed I would do. I produce a morning show on a cable news network. Been doing it for almost three years at this point. It’s been a good time, I’ve learned a lot. It’s a good step in my career, and they’re giving me more and more responsibility to where I can really make a name for myself. While I don’t see a news path taking me to the end of my life, in an industry that potentially has no limits, any new method of journalism can come out of it. Right now, I’m up to bat and going with the flow in what’s becoming the most exciting news cycle in the last half-a-century.

I’ve had a good run,and I know the run’s not yet done. 

Today, I line produced the show, meaning I kept time for my host during segments, wrote the show teases and banners, and put together bumps with pop music that takes us to commercial break. The bumps are my favorite thing to produce. I just love choosing my favorite music and making all the songs match up with the stories I’m teasing. I played the John Mayer song “Gravity” after a tease about a satellite company. Not the most upbeat song for a morning show, but sounded beautiful against a set graphic I chose with the show logo against a view of Earth from space. I watched the show back when I got home from the office, carefully assessing each block I produced today. I played a lot of music, twelve songs in a three hour show means some really careful timing took place, just what I wanted on a Monday morning. And, surprising myself a little, I felt a bit emotional watching each and every bump, delighted at how they must have looked to the viewer, wondering if someone I wish would see my work actually saw what I’m capable of doing.

I’ve been feeling more pride in the work I do as I advance in my career. I don’t know where it’s taking me, but for the first time in my life, I am giving myself credit where credit is due. I’ve not had an easy time with myself these past thirty-five years. I never feel like I’m good enough at anything. It’s like I want to criticize myself after each strikeout instead of wondering what I could have done different. Or better. But what I’ve also always known, is that no matter what role I played or what position I took, these efforts cannot just come together based on one person alone.

There’s an entire team behind our final product, and not just on the editorial side. There’s the director, who engineers the visuals behind everything you see on air. He works with the music director on the cued songs, giving them enough room to breathe so we go to break on a perfect beat. The camera operators float the jib booms over the bump shot, knowing just how long to hold before switching to another set graphic. The tape director rolls cued up video at the director’s request. The graphics operators put up the song courtesies just at the right moment, to switch to a live bug over a bump shot of an affiliate’s towercam, which our tech manager scrolled up in the block before. And none of this happens unless my host and I agree that the block is coming to an end, so s/he listens to my time cues, and gets us out before we hit a hard break. It’s a well-oiled machine. A perfectly crafted diamond. And it relies on the three T’s: Teamwork, Talent, and Trust.

I used to trust easily. I thought everyone was my friend and I could tell anyone anything. It’s taken a lot of growing up find out that trust something that has to be earned, not just doled out by default. And I consider myself lucky; most people give me reasons to trust them fairly quickly. It’s not weird to think that everyone on your team is there to strike a common goal. But sometimes, it’s like I wouldn’t even trust myself to do a good job for myself. I don’t know where this crippling fear of success comes from, but it’s something I’m still trying to figure out. And as long as I keep having these little victories doing something I love to do, that trust in myself can only go up from here, right?

It’s getting other people to trust you is the difficult part. I’ve given people plenty of reasons to not want to even deal with me, and I’ll forever be really sorry about that. But maybe the more I trust that people are not out to hurt me, rather they’re out there to do their job first and foremost, maybe I can start turning that mirror around to myself more and more too. It’s not selfish to want to put the focus on you for a bit, and make sure you’re at the top of your game. If you can’t be your own best teammate first, how can you expect anymore players to join your ballclub?

It’s a push and pull. Frankly, I think if you stop thinking the whole world is against you, it probably won’t be anymore. There’s a lot of mind over matter, especially in an industry where you wield tremendous power to be responsible and tell the news like it is. No bluster, no filler, no editorializing. Just playing ball. Trust that the word you’re putting out is the correct one that can help us find solace and peace for once, not chaos and destruction. We’ve all built a pillar here that stands to crumble if we bring our bats and pitchforks to the stadium. I’m not about that. I’m learning to trust myself first to understand that I know what I’m doing more than I let on. Maybe I haven’t always done it perfectly and maybe my intuition hasn’t always gotten me what I wanted. But it’s at least let me get my head on straight before I go whacking a few dingers out into left field again.

The even keel is okay sometimes. The smooth and steady and the trust that people have your back as much as you have theirs. It’s its own comfort. And it stands to remain strong as America’s greatest pastime.

And if I trust the plan a little bit longer, maybe I’ll soon slide into home and find someone waiting for me, rather than someone who just wants to tag me out. Crazier things have happened at the old ballgame.

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