Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can you learn from a cheapskate?


How important is a station's owner? I am looking for my first job in tv news, and I think one station seems interested in me, which is exciting. However, I have heard less than stellar things about this station's parent company. What does an owning company do within a station that would trickle down to the reporters and other employees on that level?


Dear K,

Well, things don't really "trickle down" when it comes to mandates from the home office. News Directors and GMs might be part of a conference call and hear, "Effective immediately, no more overtime!" And, bada bing, just like that, the change goes into effect.

As for cheap companies, there are plenty out there and some of the more generous ones are cutting back as well. (Some day I'll do a post about some of the more bizarre money saving techniques I've seen.) And while you don't want to end up working for companies that throw nickels around like manhole covers, that doesn't mean you should pass up an opportunity with one for a first job.

Why? Well, because managers also have to start somewhere. Some of the best NDs have started in some pretty bad shops. And while you might be getting your first job, you might find yourself working for a rookie manager who might be a terrific mentor. Who might bring you along when he or she gets a better job. And you really can't be too picky for the first gig.

On the other side of the coin, you can go to work for a number one station owned by a great company and end up working for a News Director who channels Lord Voldemort and pulls the wings off flies in his spare time.

Bottom line, judge a first job opportunity by what you can learn. But when you're ready to move on, be more selective.

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