Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sometimes the biggest story you've covered is way too common for your resume tape

I noticed it right after Hurricane Katrina. Resume tapes started leading off with Katrina packages, even from faraway places that didn't get a drop of rain. Most focused on relocated victims. Each package had a tearful story of a lost home and file tape of the storm for B-roll.

As far as resume tapes go, those stories were a big yawn.

Why? Sure, Katrina was a huge story. But if everyone is doing the same thing, what's the big deal? Most of those out of market Katrina stories took absolutely no reporting skills. Setting up an interview and using network file tape is not exactly challenging. If everyone's got the same b-roll and the same story, I'm gonna hit the eject button.

After a while, stuff like that becomes "video wallpaper" which means you just don't see it anymore.

So think about the first story on your tape when you're putting your resume together. It may be important, it may have been a lead story... but are other people going to have the same thing? Your lead story may have been huge in Podunk, but unless it has some truly unique element to it, a News Director will pass.

It's the days when nothing is happening and you turn a huge story that will get you noticed.

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