Friday, June 15, 2012

The one time a lateral move makes sense

The term "abusive relationship" often refers to domestic situations; husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. In many cases those being abused, either mentally or physically, are addicted or dependent in some way in regard to the abuser. Most of us know someone in a relationship like this, very often smart people who simply cannot see what everyone else can.

I'm not a psychologist, but I've seen abusive relationships in newsrooms. These are the mental kind, in which a manager plays such mind games with an employee that the employee becomes a victim. Let's be honest; some News Directors, for whatever sick, twisted reason, take pleasure in picking out a few select people in the newsroom and making their lives a living hell.

Very often the victims are talented and smart; usually more talented and smarter than the manager. But, like many creative types, they're sensitive, especially about their work. The abusive manager knows this, can smell it like a shark smelling blood. And what happens is the victim gets beaten down, confidence shattered to a point that every day in the newsroom is like walking on eggshells.

And while most of us have uttered the statement, "Get me the hell out of here," this is the one case where "anywhere but here" would make sense.

Bottom line, this is just a job. Yes, it's a special career and if you end up in a great place to work it can be magical. But it's not worth driving yourself crazy.

Most people think of lateral moves as moving to a station of a similar market size. They'll stay in the ninth circle of hell rather than make a lateral move to a station with a great ND and a supportive staff. But when you step back, that isn't a lateral move at all. Because your quality of life will go up, your work will improve, your future will be brighter.

Sometimes making a move isn't about money or market size, it's about comfort and peace of mind.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Conveniently leaving out facts can change an entire story

Last week that Wisconsin recall election was a huge story. It was interesting how both parties played it the day before; it was considered huge if a party won, but wasn't that big a deal if a party lost. This, of course, made no sense, and just chalk it up to political spin.

What also made no sense was a lost-in-the-shuffle key fact in the aftermath. While Republican Scott Walker won the right to finish his term, Democrats were trumpeting the fact that they won back control of the State Senate.

Okay, fair enough. Win one, lose one, right?

Not so fast. Lots of analysts talked about the Dems getting back control of the Senate, and to the average viewer that meant that Governor Walker would have a really hard time for the rest of his term.

Uh, not so fast.

Turns out a key fact was left out by almost everyone. Turns out the Wisconsin State Senate isn't in session for the rest of the year, and many of those holding seats will face an election this November.

In other words, control of the State Senate means nothing because the group won't be meeting on anything. It is purely symbolic.

This is like the head coach of the New York Giants anointing me as quarterback for the month of June, when the NFL doesn't play.

I'm not sure if analysts and reporters decided not to include that key fact on purpose, or if they simply didn't do their homework. But that was something that should have been common knowledge before the election. And it changes the story in a huge way.

Many of you cover local government on a regular basis, and it is up to you to find out what the repercussions are of any decisions or votes.

Anything involving politics always involves hidden facts that one party or the other doesn't want made public. It's pretty easy to get those facts... just ask someone of the opposing party. For instance, if a reporter had just asked a Republican State Senator from Wisconsin what control of the Senate meant, said reporter would have come up with a very interesting fact. One that changed the whole story.

Remember, politicians will always tell you what they want you to hear. It's up to you to find out what they don't want you to know.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Newsflash: not all job openings are posted

Imagine you're in charge of a major network. Your main anchor walks into your office and says, "I'm going to retire at the end of my contract, so start looking for a replacement."

Do you really, seriously think that this is going to appear on tvjobs?:

Wanted: Main anchor for big three network.

I'm using that ridiculous scenario to illustrate a point. Not all job openings are posted.

I'm hearing panic from a lot of you now that sweeps are over. I don't see many jobs posted. The only jobs posted are places I don't want to go. There are no jobs out there.

Trust me, there are always jobs out there. Always, always, always. Even at the networks, even in New York.

If you take nothing else from this post, take this: you do not need to see a job opening in order to send a tape.

Some News Directors don't post jobs because they don't want 500 tapes showing up in the mail and a barrage of phone calls. Some stations only run ads in the local newspaper or on the company website. Some like to see what agents and consultants have. The common denominator in all this: there are always openings.

People retire, people hate their situations and quit, people get out of the business, people get married and have to move, people get fired, people move up the ladder. The business is one big domino effect. Someone in New York quits, someone from Sacramento gets hired to replace them, someone from Kansas City gets hired in Sacramento, yadda, yadda, yadda.

If there's a place you want to work, send a tape. News Directors are always looking for talent, always keeping good tapes in a box for the next opening, because there's always a next opening. It might be right now, it might be later, but wouldn't it be nice if that News Director had your tape?

TVNEWSGRAPEVINE, copyright 2012 © Randy Tatano 


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Watergate's 40th anniversary

Most of you are too young to have lived through the Nixon era, but the Watergate story highlights some of the best old-fashioned reporting in the history of this country.

Since I don't expect you to read the book, I suggest you rent or pick up the movie All the President's Men.... it's a must see for any journalist.