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Graphically Speaking

(From Jamie Zozzaro, TODAY Graphic Producer)My name is Jamie Zozzaro and I'm the Graphic Producer at Today. I'm expecting your reaction to be, "What does that mean and what is a graphic?"  The answer to the question I usually get from my parent's and their friends and even some of my own friends is this:A graphic is something written, drawn, printed or engraved.  A graphic is artwork that is a

(From Jamie Zozzaro, TODAY Graphic Producer)

My name is Jamie Zozzaro and I'm the Graphic Producer at Today. I'm expecting your reaction to be, "What does that mean and what is a graphic?"  The answer to the question I usually get from my parent's and their friends and even some of my own friends is this:

A graphic is something written, drawn, printed or engraved.  A graphic is artwork that is a representation of something either in 2 Dimensions, 3 Dimensions or 4 Dimensions. To me, a graphic is anything on the television screen that is not pure video.  For example - the beginning of Today starts with a nice 3D animation that includes the Today show logo and the NBC news logo and then animates to Matt Lauer's name and then Meredith Vieira's name - that is called our Open.

Another version of a graphic would be when Meredith is interviewing someone from a remote location and we see two talking heads on the screen inside boxes - these are called Cross Talk Boxes.  If we put up a persons name and their title on screen, that is called a super or chryon.  Any full screen picture or picture on a background, maps, Google maps, bar graphs, line graphs, and fun or colorful text is considered a graphic. The monitor behind Ann Curry doing the news, is filled with graphics.  Al Roker's weather maps are all High Definition graphics.  I'm sure you are all familiar with our Today franchises: Today's Health,  Today's Style, Today's Kitchen etc.  We have about 50 of these special animations that were all created by one of our team of 15 graphic artists. 

Our team of 15 artists work on varying shifts 24 hours a day.  Producers are editing pieces through the night, so we are here to accommodate their needs and we are here preparing for air in the morning at 7am. Also, if breaking news hits, we need to be ready to create a 3D animation of a specific event.  For example, if a ferryboat collided with another boat and the ferryboat sank, we need to show exactly how it occurred.

My job is to make sure all 150 Producers are getting what they need in a timely manner and to make sure what they are getting is correct and of good quality.  I help them come up with graphic ideas for their segments and guide them when needed.  I am the direct liaison between the Graphic Department and the Today show.  I check up on the graphic artists to see how they are progressing on all graphics ordered.

This job can be crazy at times, but it's also fun and creative.  Working with such a great staff and an incredibly talented graphic department makes working at Today a terrific experience overall.