Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mailbag: Do managers have a clue what we do?


I'm in my first job. My ND continuously asks us to do things that are either ridiculous, impossible or both. Then I've got producers who think nothing of telling us to go up to people at a funeral and get sound bites. Do these people truly understand what it's like on the street? Why do they ask us to do things that don't make sense?

Because they've never had to do it themselves. I'd love to see a manager or a producer who has never been in the field take a microphone and shove it in someone's face at a funeral.

A big part of the problems newsrooms have now is that the people who are pulling the strings have never actually gathered news. Until you've been out there, you cannot really know what it's like.

There are a few stations that encourage staffers to shadow other employees once in awhile. A reporter sits in the booth with a producer, a producer does a ride-along with a field crew. If you've never done that, try it. It can do wonders for your point of view.


What does a ND really mean when he says, "We're not hiring right now."

It means they're not hiring right now.


If a ND has actually asked you to call, what's the best time so that you don't get voicemail? In the past my messages have gone unreturned.

Very good question. Mondays are never good. All sorts of emails have piled up, the ND has to deal with junk that happened over the weekend, and the GM usually wants to see the ND about said junk that happened over the weekend. Fridays are the best. The weekend is here, people are in a good mood.

As for specific times, 10:15-11:45 (the morning meeting is over and the ND hasn't gone to lunch) and 1:15-1:45 (back from lunch and before the afternoon meeting.) Calling in the late afternoon during crunch time just shows you don't know how a newsroom works.

Dear Grapevine,

What does it mean when a consultant for the competing station asks you for a tape?

It means the consultant thinks you're talented. An old consultant tactic to help the client is to get the good people out of the client's competition.

But don't confuse them with agents. They're not going to actively push you, but they will put you in their database of talent. For instance, if I'm a client and

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