Producers have nightmares about three scenarios, mistiming their shows, not getting their shows done and being called into the ND’s office to be told line-by-line how much their shows flat out sucked. This is a rite of passage in some ways. It happens to everyone at some point. It is never a comfortable situation to be in. So how do you handle it? With grace and humility. In other words, do not cry. Do not make excuses. Do not throw the EP and/or anchors under the bus (even if they deserve it). You have to man (or woman) up, take the critique and grow from it.  Even if your cheeks […]

A common issue I coach producers on is how to handle it when an anchor decides to “call out” mistakes in front of the staff. Too often, producers have to sit and listen to anchors going off on the set about something that did not work. The comments are often not constructive. Live TV is tense. Everyone’s anxiety is up, no matter how seasoned they are. That said, making fun of the writing, or complaining about mistakes on set, is not necessarily going to help you get the help you need later. We addressed some of this in “Why don’t you show us how it’s done then.” Now let’s focus […]

The best job security a reporter can have comes down to one word. Sources. Time and time again I hear about the “untouchable” reporter in a newsroom who can’t ad lib, can’t write, can’t dress, can’t get along with people, yet cannot be fired. The reason, sources. The reporter has so many contacts and so many ways to get relevant information on a dime, that they away with murder day-to-day. Now, if you are the person with the great sources, hear this: I am NOT suggesting that you act like a jerk in the newsroom. Even the most “untouchable” person can go too far and pay a hefty price. But […]

Job hunting journalists need to know that they have the right to ask for information during interviews to determine whether the station/job is right for them. I say this because lately I am hearing about some rather interesting station and company policies that are counter to this concept. So here’s a bill of rights job candidates should keep on hand. If these things do not happen during the interview process, walk away. Job Hunting Bill Of Rights: You have the right to be flown/brought in for an interview You have the right to reimbursement for cab fares/lodging/gas during the interview You have the right to entertain many job opportunities You […]

Let’s be honest—if you’re a TV reporter, you probably end up assigned to more crime stories than you can count over the course of a year! A murder here, a robbery there, another missing person, oh and don’t forget the occasional 12-hour standoff. Reporters cover a lot of crime and because of that, they get to know the police public information officers pretty well. PIOs are an important link between the crime scene and your TV viewers. After all, they usually know many more details about the incident than you do as a reporter. They talk with the detectives on-scene, they’re briefed by the brass, and it’s their job to […]

Jan 152015

The story is a great read. And for journalists – true, capital-J-on-your-chest, I-can-recite-the-SPJ-Code-of-Ethics journalists – this is also terribly disheartening. This is what we’re up against. For better or worse, we can get our “news” from sources that go beyond the traditional (or “legacy,” as I like to call them) media outlets. I am not ashamed to admit, I love me some Daily Show with John Stewart and what was the Colbert Report. First of all, their archive and research department is insane. As a former investigative and data reporter, the number of clips they dig up that add context and show patterns of (in)consistency makes me drool. Second, under […]

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