By: Mandy Mitchell
We spend a lot of time complaining about this business. You know exactly how it is. You’re in a live truck and your reporter is complaining about her social media duties and how management “cares more about that than my PKG today.”
You’re grabbing a bite through a drive-thru and your photog is complaining about how many live shots you have to do today. There is now a 4pm and “management expects more work with the same number of people.”
Complaining is fun and it’s therapeutic and it allows you to understand you are not alone in frustration. That is why we all do it. (I always argue we should do less, but that’s for another post)
Sometimes it helps to step back and think about the things you actually DO like about this business. I am guessing you wouldn’t be still working in TV news if you didn’t like some if it right? Maybe you just haven’t found the right PR job…I don’t know. There are some things to really love about this business.
1- F*ck is common language and you can say it to a complete stranger who works in the business and you know you won’t be offending that person. I wouldn’t consider myself a huge cusser personally, but for whatever reason, I enjoy when someone knows I am a reporter and therefore knows he can cuss in random conversation. It is part of being in a newsroom and I like that. I love a scene in “Parks and Rec” when Ron Swanson is talking to someone who tells him “there’s no reason to curse.” And he replies “there most certainly is!”
2- You have a chance each day to feel a sense of accomplishment. Do you know how boring some jobs are? Would you feel real accomplishment by filling out forms? We have crappy schedules and work weekends and holidays but at least we get to be creative. We get to shoot wonderful pictures and write beautiful words and try new things with graphics. We get to break news. We get to help people. THIS is important. When you are having a bad day and dreaming about that 9-5 in PR, do yourself a favor and think about what you would be missing in terms of creativity. Yeah, it might be easier, but you didn’t get into this business for easy.
3-There are deadlines. You may be thinking, actually that’s what I don’t like about TV news. But here’s the thing, the “real world” often moves much slower than you are used to. I have heard from friends who have gotten out of TV news who tell me how frustrating it is to not have e-mails returned in a timely matter. They tell me stories of how simple projects that should take ” a half day” are weekly adventures. There is something to be said for having to get something done for the 6. If you are the kind of go-getter who got into this business in the first place, you will likely be irritated by the slow pace other businesses tend to be used to.
4- Each day is different. It’s hard to be bored in TV news.One day you are covering a trial and the next you are on breaking news of some guy who took a machete to his girlfriend (that recently happened in Raleigh). This is a lot better than sitting at your desk all day and waiting with excitement to eat your ham sandwich or get a cup of coffee.
And if you do find yourself bored with gas station robberies or murders or doing a story about “the weather and how people are dealing with it,” there is ALWAYS a chance to branch out and try something new. You can pitch a sweeps story or a franchise. You can try to get some education like at Poynter or through NPPA. There are chances for you to recharge that enthusiasm that many industries don’t offer. If you work a crappy station, than go work on your resume reel and find a better one. There are always options and that’s awesome.