I just graduated and got my first job. It seems that all we do is chase the scanner. Then I see car chases on various networks. It appears everything I learned in J-school isn't true. I thought we're supposed to look for real stories, but instead we just cover what I consider garbage. Or is this stuff real news?
Nope, it's not news. People die in wrecks every day. Police chase bad guys every day. Some stations are airing this stuff to appeal to the lowest common denominator (people who have no life, those who live and die with reality shows) in the hopes of boosting ratings. In reality, they simply chase away intelligent viewers, those that advertisers dearly love. And so the death spiral of local news continues.
I'm glad that you figured this out at such a young age. Now go find a real story and pitch it in the morning meeting.
I hear horror stories about News Directors but mine is a really nice guy, never yells, and gives me feedback. Is this that unusual?
To be honest, yeah. But count your blessings, and if you're in a place you like, you should consider staying. Meanwhile, bust your tail for this guy... if he moves on, you may want to go with him. Finding a News Director who is supportive and trusts you to do your job without being a helicopter manager is not easy. But there are plenty of decent human beings in this business. The demons are just the ones who get all the press.
By the way, you can usually find plenty of dirt on the NDs who are jerks, and nothing on those who are nice.
My News Director just told me I don't belong in this business. This is my first job and I'm really beginning to have doubts about my talent. Should I cut my losses and try something else?
Geez, I've heard this story way too many times. From people who turned out to be very successful.
One opinion means nothing. If you believe in yourself, you owe it to yourself to follow your dream. If you suddenly turn 30 and you're not on your way to where you want to be, then try something else.
There are plenty of late bloomers in this business, and sometimes it takes a year for the reporting light bulb to go on. There are also News Directors who love cutting people down and don't have a clue when it comes to spotting talent. A good ND is patient with a rookie.
Hang in there and focus on your goal. Only you can kill your dream. No one else has that power.