Does Market Size Matter?

Honing Skills, Survival Kit Comments Off on Does Market Size Matter?
Jun 252015





One thing about TV people… they love numbers: May ratings were up .5 at 6pm in the P25-54 demo. We’re number 2 at 6am, but just .1 behind station X. Year 2 of my contract begins in 2 months and I’m getting a 3% raise. I can’t believe my co-anchor makes $3,000 more than I do (yes, news directors, everybody knows what everybody else makes… they all talk). And oh, I want to make at least a 25-market jump in my next move. And there it is—the TV market number obsession. For people who aren’t very good at math (let’s face it… you didn’t go into TV to solve advanced […]






ON PERMANENT RECORD: Social Media Survival Guide

Social Awareness Comments Off on ON PERMANENT RECORD: Social Media Survival Guide
Jun 182015





In the last few weeks there has been what seems an unusually high number of social media gaffes by journalists. Survive has focused a lot of attention on trying to help journalists avoid this public and frankly permanent record of embarrassment.  It appears it is time for another round of discussion about this. So let’s dive in to the recurring pitfalls that make journalists look bad on social media, and ways to avoid them. Top Danger Zones Selfie backgrounds and tone Opinions Responding to attacks Teasing a story The biggest potential pitfall without a doubt, is the background of a selfie and your tone describing it. Look, I get it. […]






What happened to verbs?

Survival Kit, Writing Help Comments Off on What happened to verbs?
Jun 032015





I have been emailing back and forth with a former TV journalist, who noticed a trend. I am guessing you will notice the same trend once I bring it up here. Verbs have largely disappeared from news copy. Now, I know many of you will dog me for this and go off on conversational writing. “People speak in phrases.” But do they really? And do they as often as you hear it in news copy? I am going to make the argument that leaving out key verbs is not done to make copy conversational. It happens for two other reasons more often: 1) To avoid using past or passive tense […]






Is That Really Breaking?

The Latest, Writing Help Comments Off on Is That Really Breaking?
May 182015





With another sweeps period ending, this is a good time to talk about branding coverage with the all too often touted claim of “Breaking News.” This term is used so loosely industry wide that it is a common brunt of jokes. Even if you think the jokes are funny, there’s a lesson behind the laughs. The phrase “breaking” is losing its meaning. Stations are showcasing with bold graphics, strong phrasing and 16 boxes in which they are happy to manipulate time in order to fit the station brand. Harsh? Not when numbers of viewers continue to decline. Making everything “Breaking News” is one of the reasons viewers are looking away. […]






Live For The Sake Of Being Live: A Survival Guide

Know Your Newsroom, Reporting Comments Off on Live For The Sake Of Being Live: A Survival Guide
May 072015





A savvy viewer recently asked me a very telling question. Are most of the live shots done on TV just for the sake of being live? I think most TV journalists would have to admit, yes. First, in defense of sending the trucks out, you cannot get to that breaker at the top of the 5, if all the trucks are sitting at the station. It makes sense to put crews in trucks at the beginning of a news cycle. And if you are going to drive the truck all over town, it makes marketing sense to use the truck. Think of all the people who drive by just wondering […]






When Is It Time To Stand Up To The Bully Boss?

Management Issues, Political Hotbed Comments Off on When Is It Time To Stand Up To The Bully Boss?
Apr 232015





We all know that newsrooms are politically dicey. Tensions often run high. Pressure is intense. Frankly, a lot of bully type personalities fill many newsrooms as well. So it is inevitable that you will end up with a bully boss at some point in your news career. Over time and through a lot of trial and error, I have learned an important lesson about bully bosses. They can torture you only as long as you let them. So it is crucial that you stand up to the bully at some point, in order to get the person to back down. (If the bully is a screamer read this). The big […]






Bad Behavior has blocked 736 access attempts in the last 7 days.