There’s no “I” in News

Guest post
Patrick Quinn is a Sports Anchor/Reporter at WNCT in Greenville, NC. He’s been in the business 4 grueling yet priceless years, always looking to tell stories that transcend sports. Follow him on Twitter: @patrickwnct.

You hear it. “Last night, I told you about the story of.”

You see it. “So I decided to give it a shot.”

The news industry is being overtaken by the individual. Okay. That’s probably a little hyperbolic, but you get my point. More and more, I’m noticing on-air talent putting themselves before the station…and worse…putting themselves before the story.

Let this blog post be a friendly reminder to you and me that…IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.

DISCLOSURE 1: I get that establishing your brand is important. As competitive as this industry is…you have to separate yourself, prove to your current and future employers why you…and not the other guy/gal…is right for the job.

DISCLOSURE 2: I get that personalizing your stories allows you to connect with the viewers and assists in making a story relevant to your audience. Please don’t confuse this point. The grandmother at home gets a lot out of you putting on that fire suit to showcase just how heavy it is. It’s one thing to say that a suit weighs 45 pounds. It’s another to show it.

So, yes. You are important to this industry. But you ARE NOT the most important.

I recently asked my News Director about this trend, and she echoed these observations saying that more and more reporters are doing stand-ups for packages that simply don’t require one. Unlike what many journalism schools are teaching, not every package requires a standup. Why do a standup of something that you can simply track? So next time, consider taking out your 15 second redundant standup for 15 seconds of information that furthers the story. Another colleague added…be a story teller, not a story maker. You are simply a bridge from your subject to your viewer.

But…back to you. Yes, while there is no ‘I’ in News (sorry, I’m a sports reporter and I’m actually surprised I’ve made it this long without throwing in a cheesy sports cliché)…the individual is instrumental to the success of this business.

You’ve got to be confident, motivated, and selfless. Please don’t sacrifice these traits. Our ability to enterprise stories, envision their impact, and then execute those stories with a one-two punch of news value and entertainment…that’s rare.

And the moment we forget that…that’s the moment our stories suffer…and so do our viewers. Just keep it all in perspective. Like my craft beer addiction, it’s about balance. Constantly ask yourself, ‘What’s the essence of this story?’, ‘How can I best tell it?’, ‘Does it need my personal narrative?’…and maybe most importantly, ‘Do I need to pack the selfie-stick?’

Your ego may take a hit…but maybe…just maybe…that’s okay.

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