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Working in broadcasting

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mark2010, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    With all the gloom and doom talk surrounding newspaper careers these days, I was wondering if anyone has worked in the broadcast news business. If so, how did you go about making the transition?

    I realize a lot of television and radio stations are in the same crunch that is affecting newspapers, but wonder how viable an alternative that might be. We use a lot of the same skills, telling stories, albeit in different formats.

    Any experiences?
  2. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Hey...ex TV sports guy here (but with experience in print and radio as well).

    It is a different beast right now, although TV made its awful cuts in sports from about 1998 through 2005. You will find VERY few local TV news sports departments with more than 3 people. A station in Louisville just went from 4 to 3 people (layoffs) -- that's now the norm in mid- to large markets.

    Still expect 2 people in sports in small markets for TV. You may find a "half" position as a #3, half news/half sports. (I know...I was one a long, long time ago).

    There's still plenty of opportunity. Just know how to shoot, edit, write, avoid complaining and -- in this era -- make sure you know how to upload video digitally as well as 'tape to tape'. Broaden out your technical skills as well and, once again, don't complain or be a pain in the rump to your sports director, news director or, really, anyone in the newsroom.

    Be easy to deal with.

    I landed three jobs because my predecessors had anger management issues. You'll find many TV sports guys are absolute jerks.
  3. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    I have a face made for radio, if that helps.
  4. ringer

    ringer Member

    Broadcast and print are two very different worlds in terms of storytelling. Just be aware of what you're getting into. Here are some obvious (but commonly overlooked) points worth considering for scribes who assume they can jump into TV cold:

    In TV, your words will be mere background for pictures.

    In TV, you'll write for time, not space. Do you how many sentences are in a 30-second script?

    In TV, you'll be expected to write in present tense -- even when it seems ridiculous.

    In TV, you'll need to pay attention to how your words sound.

    Not only will you be expected to know how to spell your interviewees names, but you'd better have accurate pronunciations. (It's a pain in the ass, but consider yourself forewarned.)

    Unlike in print, it's impossible to create a TV piece alone. You'll be relying on a cadre of colleagues -- from the sound guy to the shooter to the editor to the graphics coordinator to the intern Xeroxing the scripts. (So "be nice" was good advice from the previous poster.)

    There's no room for error in LIVE TV. No rough drafts. You have to be spot-on the first time. You can also expect Murphy's Law to kick in, so you'll need to anticipate problems and questions and be able to troubleshoot on the fly. You won't have time to go research something.

    Try to get some experience sitting in the control room before you start marketing your writing skills as "transferable." It's important to know the lingo and what's technically involved, say, in cutting a 2-minute piece. There are a lot of moving parts.

    Also, you should go to an interview knowing whether you think you want to be a producer or director (it's like editor vs. writer -- but you have to work your way up. You can't start as a producer or director without experience. You'll be an assistant to someone for a while - possibly a very long while.)

    Good luck! It's a fun medium...just different. You really have to think on your feet.
  5. spup1122

    spup1122 New Member

    I have a lot of experience in both radio and television, mark. If you have questions, you can send me a PM. I've worked in broadcast media for 10 years, but I've also done print and web.

    Broadcast is different. And there's a big difference if you're wanting to go into play-by-play or just report the news. In radio, I know a lot of guys who have normal shows or are news guys during the week and do play-by-play on the weekends. Almost every college has some sort of radio broadcast, whether it's the college station with students do the play-by-play or if it's a huge network run by Clear Channel, Host (recently sold but I can't remember to whom), Learfield or ISP. There are some other smaller companies, but those are the big players in collegiate sports marketing/broadcasting.

    If you want a few contacts, I have some. I'm sure any of them would be willing to answer any question you have. My dad is an exec. producer at one of the companies I listed and used to spend about an hour every day putting together a school's broadcast and an e-mail for one of the school's fans who had a disability. The guy heard my dad's name on a broadcast and they just started e-mailing. Contrary to print, sports radio is not dying, especially in the collegiate sports marketing world. Smaller schools are growing and giving radio rights to companies rather than just do the local thing. It's a fantastic world in which to live, and I'd do anything to get back to that kind of job. Unfortunately, I live in an area without many resources there.

    Oh, and most of what ringer says is true. with print, you have to put a picture in someone's head, but that's not the case in TV. It's a big advantage for people to actually be able to see it. Go onto youtube and watch some of the sports uploads. I know a lot of tv people are putting their videos up there, now. I'd search "sports news" or something along those lines. Time the stories. You'll rarely find a sports story under 30 seconds or more than a minute unless it's a slow news day.

    Edited to say I "also" have done print and web instead of "always."
  6. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    What about the girls? 8)
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

  8. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    You can't do that. I was never friended.
  10. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Oh that's right! ;D

    I'm sorry to jack your thread, sir.

    I wouldn't make the jump unless you feel passionately about editing (videotape editing).

    Secondly, you'll probably make less money than you do in print with less job security (in TV they can sack you because they don't like the way you look or because of a round of layoffs.) You will barely scrape by. (I had a Mr. Lugs to help me.)

    But you'll have a lot of fun....
  11. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    in all seriousness, much better. Don't have the same sense of entitlement and ego in my experience and work harder.

    its amazing how unqualified some male TV types are - completely clueless when it comes to what is actually news. Its all about the visuals and the sound bite.
  12. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    My major in university was actually broadcasting with a journalism minor. I've done some radio play-by-play for minor league and college sports. Loved it, just didn't pay much.

    All things being equal (yeah, right), I'd rather do broadcast than print. Just not sure how to get my foot in, so to speak.
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