Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hat rack

I'm a News Director and I need a reporter. I've waded through a few hundred tapes and hung up on a few people who didn't understand the meaning of the words "no phone calls" in the job advertisement. I'm down to two people I really like.

Jennifer is a solid reporter, has a good on-camera presence, is attractive, and writes well. Her packages flow smoothly and she knows how to use nat sound and editing to make her stories interesting.

Gina is also a solid reporter with the same traits as Jennifer.

I could hire either one and be happy. Their talents are so even I could flip a coin and not make a bad decision.

But Gina has something on the end of her tape that tips the scales in her direction.

Gina has filled in doing weather. She's not a meteorologist, but she did a credible job on her resume tape, and would do fine as a substitute.

And in a world where skeleton crews are the rule rather than the exception, having a reporter who can do weather in a pinch is a valuable commodity. In this case, the more versatile person gets the job. Not because she's necessarily the better choice, but because she can wear more than one hat.

Hats are in vogue again, whether you watch Mad Men or simply stroll the streets of Manhattan. And they're really popular in newsrooms. The more hats on your rack, the more marketable you are.

You may not like weather, but if you ever have any spare time you ought to hang out with the Chief Meteorologist and find out how things work. (You might also pick up a copy of the USA Today Weather book, which is a great way to learn the basics.) You may be a sports fan, so spend a little time in the sports department. You may be a Sports Director, but you'd better start reading the other sections of the paper because sports jobs are getting harder to find. You may be an investigative reporter, but you need to knock out a feature once in awhile.

Try on different hats when you get a chance. Some may fit well, and you may find you like wearing them.

The more hats in your wardrobe, the more marketable you are.

And on this, the last day of sweeps, marketability gives you an edge.


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