The President was in your market and you covered it. You broke the story, right?
A school shooting took place in your market. You broke the story, right?
The oil spill coated beaches with oil and you work on the Gulf Coast. You broke the story, right?
Chances are the answers to these questions would be a resounding "no" but chances are very good you've put a story like this right up front on your resume tape. Because you think an important story or a national story makes you seem like a better reporter.
Uh, no it doesn't.
If you take anything from this post, take this: just because a story is national, or the lead story on your newscast, doesn't mean it's a resume tape story. Because it doesn't take anything special to cover a story that's already there.
Several years ago it seems like half the reporters looking for jobs started their tapes off with a Hurricane Katrina story, even if they lived in Montana. This year every reporter in the northeast will probably have a school shooting story. Next year it will be something else.
News Directors don't want reporters who can show up when everything is right in front of you. They want reporters who can come up with enterprise stories, who can dig for information and not have it handed to them by officials. They want people who can turn memorable stories that are unique, that the other stations won't have.
The best story you've ever done may have ended up in the second block of your local newscast, but no one cares where it aired. NDs only care what you did with the story and how you put it together. They don't care that you once rubbed elbows with the President. They want to see what you can come up with on a day when absolutely nothing is happening.
Show off your reporting skills, not the fact that you happened to be in the middle of a big story because it took place in your neighborhood.