Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So you wanna be a bureau chief...


I've been offered a job as a bureau chief. Can you offer any insight as to how that differs from a regular newsroom job?

Well, it differs greatly, and it takes a special type of person to run a bureau. It also takes a special kind of person to be happy in a bureau.

There are two big considerations you need to take into account:

-You'll be on an island. You'll be expected to know everything that's going on in your area, even when you're off the clock. I know that some stations insist the bureau chief have a scanner at home. (What fun!) If a big story is missed, you'll take the flak.

-You'll miss the camaraderie of the newsroom, though in some cases that might be a good thing if the camaraderie resembles an episode of Survivor. I know many people who have worked bureau gigs and complained at how lonely it gets. But if you're the kind of person that won't miss the office relationships, this won't be a big deal.

If you're young and decide to take this job, make sure you have some supervision back at the main newsroom. You'll want to make sure you have script approval and that you'll be keeping in touch with the newsroom throughout the day. CYA is a definite must for these jobs.

I was offered a bureau job once and turned it down. That sort of thing doesn't appeal to me. So I cannot offer any personal experience; I'm just passing on what others have told me.

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