Saturday, January 8, 2011

Get the facts, get it right, or shut up

After watching the events of the shooting in Arizona today and the misinformation floating around, it's a good time to remind journalists that getting it right is more important than getting it first. She's dead. Nope, wait, she's alive. And you wonder why viewers don't trust us.

When you broadcast a story like this imagine you're talking to a family member of the victim. How would you like to be told a loved one is dead, then, oops, my bad, that person is actually alive. Imagine the emotional roller coaster the poor Congresswoman's family went through today thanks to reporters who can't get their facts straight.

Big stories bring often bring out the worst in our profession when it comes to facts. The race to be first can leave you wearing an omelet on your face. The 2000 Presidential election is a fine example of that.

And for those of you too young to remember the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, check this out. Gets real interesting about three minutes in and off the charts at the four minute mark.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Resume Tape Week: Sometimes you need two tapes

We're going to conclude this week with a tip that some of you might not have considered.

Let's say you're a reporter who has filled in on the anchor desk a lot. You're looking for a job and you don't really have a preference if it is a reporter or anchor gig.

So why would you send a reporter tape for an anchor job, or vice versa?

That's why many people have two tapes, one for reporter jobs, one for anchoring. If you do this, you'll need your packages first if you're applying for a reporter job, your anchoring clips first if it's an anchor job you seek.

Weekend anchor job? Then your anchoring goes first. A ND sees those skills as more important when hiring for that position.

Finally, sometimes you run into a station that just does things differently; maybe they like long form stories and your regular tape has nothing but minute-fifteen packlets. So you knock out a special tape just for that station. Or there's a station that does "real stories" as opposed to scanner chasing. Make a separate tape if necessary. Do your homework, and find out the style of the station running the ad.

Remember, consider each job opening carefully and don't just send stuff out blindly. Sometimes switching things up a bit can make a big difference.