By: Mandy Mitchell
I was giving a talk to a high school journalism class recently when I got a question from one of the students. The young lady asked “what makes someone stand out in the TV news business? I don’t mean talent. I mean what makes someone different?”
Good question! I thought.
We’ve all been taught to focus on our resume reel and how the first ten seconds mean everything.
I thought about telling the girl how standing out early in your career is about “looking the part” and “having confidence.” (This is important, by the way, but that’s not how I answered)
After all of that went through my head, I answered “enthusiasm.” I kind of surprised myself with the answer, but the more I have thought about it, the more I believe it to be true.
You will eventually get a call from a news director who, not only liked your first ten seconds, but liked your entire reel.
You will get hired and you will go through the first few days of “training.” After that you will either blend in or you will bring enthusiasm and truly stand out.
It is very very easy to blend in in a busy newsroom. It’s easy to come in and produce your newscast without typos or fact errors. It’s easy to get a story in the morning meeting, go out and shoot it, do your live shots and go home.
What truly makes one stand out is enthusiasm. The people who do well are the ones constantly bringing ideas on how to improve the product.
The producers I have seen move up the quickest are the ones who are always looking for great cold opens. They are getting things pre-produced and looking for custom graphics. They are moving anchors around.
Reporters who get the best assignments are the ones who have a constant flow of story ideas.
They want to do live shots. They want to be on the big stories. They pitch sweeps piece after sweeps piece.
The truly good ones are the people who never fall victim to the negativity of the newsroom. A newsroom has a funny way of sucking the enthusiasm out of anyone.
We all have bad days and even bad weeks. When you are going through those times find a way, even if it’s small, to spark your enthusiasm.
People tend to notice.