Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The most difficult talent to master in television news

Live shots? Nope.
Editing? Uh-uh.
Reading the prompter? Not even close.

The most difficult thing to master in our business has nothing to do with technology, reporting skills or writing ability. It's something internal, and something that can help your career or send it running off the rails.

Give up?

It's patience.

And for this instant download generation, it's even harder to control than it was back in the day.

The problem for most people in the business is two-fold. First, many people are working in bad situations. Second, most people have dreams of reaching the top rung on the ladder.

The result is often a knee-jerk response to any job offer that comes along. "Anywhere but here" is a battle cry heard in many stations. Problem is, there are a lot of places just like the station at which you're working.

Jumping at the first thing to come along can be a huge mistake. The rose colored glasses we all wear in our youth turn into 20/20 hindsight when we realize we've made a mistake.

Yes, competition is fierce, and always has been in this business. But if you're talented, you'll be in demand. Problem is, some people aren't sending out enough tapes.

I've heard people actually say they've been told to send out five tapes, then wait, then send five more.


Why not send out a bushel of tapes all at once? If you only send out a handful of tapes and get one offer, you 'll never know what else could have been out there.

As with any job offer, take time to step back and breathe. Sleep on it. Take off the rose colored glasses. Do some homework on the station and the News Director. Track down former employees and get honest opinions about the place.

And if it sounds just like the bad situation you're in, pass.

Learning to be patient can be incredibly difficult when you're broke and chomping at the bit to move on. You see other people less talented getting great jobs, and suddenly you just have to go. Right. Now.

The term "lateral move" is often associated with salary, but it can also describe the situation. If you're in one bad station and go to another bad station, you've made a lateral move.

Wait for the right job. It will pay off in the long run. And when you think about it, the long run is the only thing that matters.


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