Breaking Into the Business

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I often get asked the question from young people how to get a job in television news. The first thing you should think about is whether you want one! The job is very exciting, but the hours extremely unpredictable. You will never be bored, but you may also never get any sleep.

The best ways to get started include a college internship (so you can make some connections or even have an experience so you know whether you truly want to work in television news or not.) Most news organizations have formal intern programs. I know that FOX News does (it is run out of our New York headquarters, but includes interns in remote newsrooms.) When I was at CNN years ago, they too had intern programs.

Next, it would be smart to decide what kind of job you would like in TV. Do you want to be on camera? Produce shows? Field produce? Gather news? Work in the newsrooms? Work in the control room? Operate a camera? Management, etc.? Perhaps getting on camera is the most difficult job to get, but is not the most difficult job to perform. It is probably the most difficult job to get only because there are so few of them compared to the "behind the camera" jobs. The behind the camera jobs are very exciting and carry enormous responsibility — especially the editorial jobs. The field producing jobs are exciting, but you have to love being on the road and living in hotels. The field camera jobs are creative, but you have to love lugging lots of equipment. The newsroom jobs are fun, but you have to be ready to handle breaking news at all times. You also need very good judgment.

Many people start in the national news field by working in smaller community TV stations. I have talked to on air talent who have told me that they started in such small markets that they would have to set the cameras up themselves, hit record button and then walk around and do their reports in front of the camera. In short, they were one-man operations. They speak of those early days in very fond terms so you might want to jump at this chance if presented to you.

There is no set course for national TV jobs. I have friends in the national news who were print journalists, worked in radio or accidentally ended up on TV. I accidentally ended up in TV — I was content to be a practicing lawyer. If there is one single ingredient that all successful TV people have — in front of the camera or behind — it is a willingness to hustle and work. News is not predictable and you really don't belong in this business if you can't drop everything and attend to a news story. This can include giving up days off, etc., when something important happens.

Now for some e-mails and news articles that caught my attention:

E-mail No. 1 — this first e-mail supports what the South Carolina judge told me Friday and which was included in Monday's blog:

I have been at the U.W. Hospital in Madison daily since last Thursday with our retired DA's secretary who had a double bypass. It is true cell phones cannot be in the ICU area. Thanks for giving everyone the benefit of the doubt before the facts are established. On my way back to U.W. Hospital, will have to miss the show tonight.

E-mail No. 2

The answer to where you can live and not put up with any of the weather you were talking about is easy. Shhhh! It's a secret — Wyoming!
Jim Clark

ANSWER: Last night I asked our weather expert for a tip on where I could live where there be no hurricanes, tornadoes, snow, sleet, brush fires, mudslides, earthquakes, excessive heat and humidity, freezing cold, etc., and Jim kindly responded. I am not sure of the temperature in Wyoming year round. Since I am chronically cold, I fear that is the one drawback.

E-mail No. 3

Aloha Greta,
1) Could not connect with (Yes, I work online everyday and have state of the _____ computers.
2) Tell your weatherman in answer to your question tonight: "where is there warm weather?"... the answer is "Maui," where the temp. is 84 degrees, blue skies and it is paradise! And it is a state in the United States!
Mahalo (thank you)

Under the headline "never, never, never dull," check out this article:

Police arrest man in drag suspected in robbery

Has winter gotten to you? Want to move South, but don't have a job? Here is a thought:

Flower shop to go to writer of heartfelt essay for $100

Finally, I know I have Wisconsin bias and that Wisconsin stories do grab my attention, but I do think the following facts is interesting:

Snowmobile fatalities for the past 11 winters

The number of people killed in snowmobile crashes in Wisconsin in recent winters:

2005-2006: 36
2004-2005: 37
2003-2004: 25
2002-2003: 26
2001-2002: 15
2000-2001: 26
1999-2000: 39
1998-1999: 20
1997-1998: 21
1996-1997: 34
1995-1996: 22
TOTAL: 301

As of Monday, March 20.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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