Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mailbag: The whole day interview


I'm about to fly out on an interview and I'm told I'll be spending the whole day in the newsroom. What exactly might they do with me besides the interviews?

Well, after you sit down with the ND, maybe the GM, maybe the EP, you'll probably be "dumped" into the newsroom for a few hours. Managers do this to see how you interact with the staff. Do you sit in the corner and read the newspaper, waiting for someone to bring you to another interview? Or do you bounce from desk to desk, meeting everyone you can and learning how the system works? Many times NDs will ask the staff what they thought of you after you've left.

You might also get a writing test and/or current events test. You'll probably watch the newscast with the ND, from the studio, or the booth.

Some stations will even send you out to do a sample package.

The point is to chat up everyone you meet and look like you're someone who finds things to do when you're not involved in a standard interview.

And if you're invited to the morning or afternoon meeting, do some homework on the area and have a few story ideas in your pocket.


I work in a small market and my ND is a screamer. Will it just get worse in a bigger market? Since you do work with the networks, can you shed some light on that as well?

Well, it's been my experience that the bigger the market, the nicer the people. And the biggest egos are in small markets.

In the five years I've worked as a network field producer, I've never heard anyone yell. Not once. Everyone is totally professional and very courteous.

When I worked in upstate New York we frequently had crews from New York City in town that used our facilities. Again, totally professional.

I have noted that if you have a manager who has been in a small market for awhile who has watched others move up the ladder, frustration can set in and fuel a temper. Just my observation.


Why are stations now using the term "backpack journalist" instead of one-man-band?

Because "Video Sherpa" didn't sound terribly appealing.


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