Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mailbag: Is there a common denominator?


I've got about five years experience as a reporter. I've won numerous awards, always get the lead story, and I'm an old school reporter. I'm about to start sending tapes to big markets and networks.

Since you work with network people I was wondering if you've noticed some common denominator in the reporters you've worked with. Are they all that much more talented than the rest of us?

Good question, but the answer, for the most part, is "it depends." (Sorry, I know that's not what you were hoping for.)

A good package is a good package, no matter what the market or network. There are great stories being knocked out by people in small markets and horrible ones in big markets.

The people I work with are very talented. (Although there's one person out there who makes the crew roll its collective eyes and wonder, "How the hell did this person get the job?) And I can't stress this enough... the network people are predominantly team players and bury the ego out in the field.

Yes, there are people out there who got their jobs through connections, or they fit the right demographic. But for the most part, the talent is there. The stars may or may not align for you... it doesn't make you any less of a great reporter.

Dear Grapevine,

Should I wait till the end of May sweeps to send tapes? I've heard News Directors don't bother looking at stuff till sweeps are over.

Send 'em now. They're more than likely to get lost in the giant stack after sweeps. And some NDs will look at tapes that trickle in since it's just a few minutes out of their day.

Hi Grape,

Just curious what non-news television shows you watch.

Well, I watch too much TV but my tastes are often satisfied by shows with clever writing and lots of plot twists. Here are my current favorites:

Castle: Great writing and chemistry, and the best unresolved sexual tension since Moonlighting.

Justified: Terrific characters, always one hilarious scene involving an idiot criminal.

Revenge: I'm Sicilian, so I was naturally drawn toward this one.

Big Bang Theory: A natural since I'm obsessed with Star Trek.

Blue Bloods: Great New York stories with accents that aren't faked for the most part.

Smash: Terrific choreography. It always amazes me how people come up with dance routines like they do.

Burn Notice: Great characters and plot twists.

White Collar: Love the antiheroes in this one, and Mozzie is one of the best characters on television.


Anonymous said...


So, something about the 1st question caught my eye - "I'm about to start sending tapes to big markets and networks." Do reporters send tapes out for network jobs? I was under the impression that you almost got scouted for the big league network jobs. Is that not always the case?

-The Grape said...

There's no formula. Some have agents, some move up from network O&Os, some send tapes. And sometimes some network exec might see you on the feed or traveling thru your market. You have nothing to lose sending a tape. And think about this... how many people are under the impression that you DON'T send tapes to the network? So send 'em.