Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mailbag: Who do I watch to get better?


I'm in my first job in a small market and trying to get better. Every night I DVR the competition and watch all the reporters in an effort to raise my skills. But I seem to have hit a plateau. Any suggestions?

You've got the right idea, but using your DVR in the wrong way. Don't watch other reporters in a small market, watch those on networks and big markets. The other guys in your market are in the same boat as you are.

If you want to get to the major leagues, watch those already there. You don't have to copy a particular journalist, but takes notes and pick little things you like from different reporters and anchors. That's how you develop your own style over time.

You might also visit those online resume sites where you can watch hundreds of resume tapes. Pick out the ones from big markets.

Dear Grapevine,

I'm new at this one man band thing and I'm having problems. It seems that all my interviews look dark. I'm setting up my camera so that my interview subjects aren't staring into the sun and squinting by keeping the sun at their back. We have no photogs at my station, so I don't know where to get advice.

Well, I'm not a photog nor do I pretend to be one, but I can tell you that your interviews are simply backlit. When you have the sun directly behind someone you're interviewing you end up with a person who looks like they're in the witness protection program.

But you need a real photog to teach you. Since there's not one at your station, I would suggest you cruise the net. There are lots of shooters with blogs out there, and these guys are almost always willing to help someone who asks for it.

You gotta love the one man band system that just gives a poor kid out of college a set of gear with no instructions. This is the television equivalent of the deep end of the pool.


What's the average number of tapes you need to send to find a job?

There's no "magic number" for a job search. Some people get lucky sending out the first batch and others send out more than 100. Keep putting stuff in the mail until you get some nibbles.

I would say, though, that if you've sent 100 tapes and heard nothing, you might need to revise your tape.


Seriously, what takes News Directors so long to make a hiring decision?

The same problem is affecting just about every business in the country. People are afraid to make the wrong decision, so making no decision or putting the decision off is easier.

Makes you wonder how these guys ever decide what to eat for lunch.

1 comment:

joey flash said...

make them squint into the sun - makes them look incredible!