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Question for the TV folks

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Batman, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I know there's a few people on the board who have worked in both print and TV. I was just wondering how they compare.
    Is the schedule usually better or worse?
    Is pay comparable, worse or equally crappy (and what is the general pay scale for reporters, producers, on-air talent, etc.)?
    Is working a shift behind the camera roughly the same as working a desk shift at a paper?
    Thanks for the help, and please throw in anything else I might have forgotten to ask.
  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I've worked strictly on the TV side, so I can only fully answer for that end.

    Schedules vary wildly. While newspaper work is (generally) geared for the morning paper, a typical TV station will have newscasts all through the day, so schedules are all over the map to accommodate for that. We have 6 show producers Monday through Friday; their shifts start at 7am, 9am, 10am, 1:30pm, 10pm, and 11pm.

    Pay varies wildly from job to job, and I can't speak to the pay in newspapers. When I worked in a small market, I know the pay was better at the newspaper. I'm now in market 13, and I suspect the pay is probably comparable to the paper (allowing for the wide range from job to job).

    In terms of comparing behind-the-scenes work to working a desk, there are a lot of behind-the-scenes jobs in TV, so I'm not sure there's much of a comparison to be made. There are producers and writers (and those two overlap a lot), assignment editors, video editors, photogs, web folks, etc.

    Any other questions, feel free to ask or PM.
  3. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    a lot of it depends on what size market you're in. I started out in market 170 or there-abouts and pay was roughly what I was making at an 8k 6-day a decade later.
    If you're in sports the schedule is usually better. Only one person from the sports department will work most holidays. There will be some 12 and 15 hour days but not many. In news the schedule is often worse as your desk decides to keep you on a breaking story until it resolves which might not happen any time soon.
    At bigger stations the non-revenue high school sports won't be covered at all, so that's one less thing to worry about. Nothing in a TV newsroom directly compares to a desk shift at a paper. On a Friday night it may be everyone in the newsroom taking scores. As for behind-the-scenes jobs, there are producers who do all the writing and what's called "stacking" ie, figuring out what goes in the show and where. There are also photogs who shoot video and in some cases do some reporting. There used to also be studio camera operators who mostly sat in the newsroom and checked their facebook.
    One big difference- while most cities only have one newspaper, most cities have multiple TV stations with news, so you're almost never on a story alone and if you are, kudos.
    Also "editor" is the job of the low man on the totem pole.
  4. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

  5. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I have mixed feelings on those Conan pieces. They're undeniably funny, but it's a little unfair.

    CNN has a feed service, sending stories out strictly for use by local affiliates. The stories that pop up in the Conan bits are from the feed, and the producers simply haven't changed the script. It's a little like mocking newspapers by showing that dozens of them ran the same lead on an AP story.

    We have two feeds in my shop -- the CNN feed that all 5 stations in town get, and our network's feed that is exclusive to us in the market. I always rewrite the CNN version because I don't want to see the exact script on a competitor's air. If it's from our network's feed, I worry less about the rewrite if it's a good script. It doesn't matter to my viewers if a station 2,000 miles away has the same lead-in to a story.
  6. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    What about the technical side? Is it hard to master if you've never worked with it? Or can it be learned with a little practice?
  7. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Depends on how technical you're talking. If you're video editing it's tricky to learn (and hard to do well), but not impossible.

    Most jobs -- like producer, assignment editor, etc. -- there's very little real technical work involved, and it's easy to learn. You'll just need to figure out how to use the computer system. There's a lot to it, particularly in a shop like mine that has automated the production system, but it's not all that hard to use.

    In terms of directing and in-studio work, I doubt you'd be doing that anywhere, and it's not something you'll want to go out of your way to learn. Those jobs are disappearing.
  8. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Coldcat and PCLL covered the majority of it. I can't disagree with what they have said.

    I think it's easier to go from newspaper to TV than TV to newspaper. Being great at TV? Well that takes work, but I've worked with many younger kids that don't "get" writing or shooting news/sports for a paper, but they would have been fine getting their feet wet in TV. Same with radio.
  9. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    If you can shower off the smut from working in local TV at the end of everyday, it's not a bad way to make a living! :D
  10. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    If I stay in newspapers a few more years I might not be able to shower at all, since I won't have the money to pay the water bill. So, I'm willing to give it a shot!
  11. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    I have a question for the TV people who rip and read my stories on a regular basis: How's my ink taste?
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