Kelly Riner is an assignment editor at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC. Kelly’s experience ranges from producing to working on the assignment desk. She also field produces and plans special projects. Kelly graduated University Valedictorian from North Carolina State University with a degree in Communication Media, and she has a Masters of Humanities from Duke University. She’s worked at WRAL for 14 years, and prior to that, she wrote for the Fayetteville Observer. Kelly also oversees the News Production Assistants at the station.
Whatever age you are when you step into your first TV newsroom, it’s a scary experience. For me, I had just turned 19, and was a sophomore in college. It was a newsroom filled with people who had worked in the business anywhere from 2 months to nearly 50 years. Now, more than 14 years later, I still remember each name of each person who welcomed me into the newsroom. I remember who talked to me, who reached out to me, and who was open to making a new friend.
No matter how great you are at your job, how much viewers may love you, or how much the bosses may be proud of your work performance, if you don’t have good relationships with your co-workers, you’re going to have a hard time in this business. No matter how much you love your job, how driven you are, how passionate you are, and how much you want to succeed, just like in any career, there are going to be bad days, days you’re going to need someone who understands, days where you’re going to want someone to listen, days where you’re just going to need a friend.
The simplest way to ensure you’ll have a friend is by being a good friend. I cringe when I hear someone say, “I’m not here to make to make friends.” That’s fine, but I think one of the most incredible perks of a job where you meet so many people from all different places with different sets of life experiences is the friendships you’re afforded. My advice: Don’t miss that opportunity.
When you’re working with someone, really talk to them, get to know them. Say hello, ask people how their day is going and listen to their answers. Invite someone to walk to the breakroom with you. If you get a chance to grab a bite to eat, find someone who can go with you. When someone does a good job with a story, produces a great newscast, finds breaking news first, etc, take the time to tell them you noticed. Tell them in person, or if you don’t see them, shoot them an email. It doesn’t have to be fancy or long, but a few words can go a long way toward making someone’s day. If you see a person having a bad day, put a piece of candy on their desk.
When someone new starts, whether they’re your age or not, whether they’re in your same division or not, welcome them. And I’m not just talking about sending them a message on twitter. Introduce yourself. Offer to help them out in the newsroom. Offer to make suggestions on things to do or places to eat if they’re new to town. Tell them they can call or text you if they have any questions. Invite them to functions you’re doing with other work people. Help them get to know people. You never know, that person could quickly become an amazing friend, your mentor, your best confidant, or all of the above. And you, in turn, could make all the difference for them as well. All you have to do is reach out. Be the person you remember making a difference for you when you first walked through the newsroom doors. Be a friend.
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