Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sometimes a foot in the door really isn't


I've been applying for reporter jobs for about a year - had 2 interviews, had a news director tell me I made it to his top 5, but nothing has panned out. There's an opening at a really good company in their in-house media network as an assistant producer/web administrator. I would be writing, editing and working in production on corporate shoots, but I wouldn't be doing any on-air work and the contract has an 11-month minimum, so I'd be taking myself completely out of the running for any reporting job. What do you think about that? I still want to report so would applying for this job be a bad idea?

Well, I've been at many stations where people like this have been hired.

Years ago a "foot in the door" was a great way to move up the ladder. I'm not so sure it's that way anymore.

It seems that every time I've had a co-worker or an employee who was hired to do something other than reporting when the person really wanted to be a reporter, here's what happened.

1. Person starts out jumping head first into new position, doing a great job trying to impress management.

2. After about a month, person starts to get bored and starts hinting to management about reporting opportunities.

3. When opportunities do not present themselves, person gets depressed, and work suffers as person loses interest in job he didn't really want anyway.

4. Person ends up leaving.

I've also seen a lot of job openings as well for an entry level "producer-reporter" and in most cases the person hired gets stuck being a full time producer when another producer leaves.

Bottom line, if you want to be a reporter, will you really be happy doing work you don't want to do... for a chance that may never come? And what's your dream... to simply work in television, or be a reporter?

Still, the decision is up to you. Just bear in mind that the people hiring for this position are probably looking for someone to do the job... not get a foot in the door.


Rob and Anne said...

Depending on how big the company is, there's a slim to none chance of you actually getting on-air. If it's a "good company," they're looking for a reporter who's a reporter. And the crappy thing about wanting to be a reporter is that there are a lot of other folks looking to be a reporter too. ND's have their pick of the litter.

If you really want to be a reporter, start low on the totem pole for no bucks in market 180+.

If you want to get into the part of the news business that actually has a chance to succeed, or give you a springboard to do something else, take the web producer job.

-The Grape said...

Well said.

Though rookies can start these days in market 50. I see it all the time.