Daily Archives: January 28, 2009

Top 10 assumptions about TV reporters

kent_brockman210.  They can tell you what’s really going on. Well, yes.  But chances are they’ve put almost everything they know into a story already.

9.  They have writers who tell them what to say. No.  They write it, which explains why some of it is so poorly written.

8.  Reporters love dirt. Absolutely true.

7.  Reporters love stories about crime. A few do, but most don’t.  A few reporters thrive on the act of knocking on the door of a bereaved family and requesting an interview.  Most would rather pull their eyebrows out.

6.  Reporters consider it demeaning to do a feature story on, say, a cat show. Some reporters crave the lead story.  Many don’t.  Cat show stories can be low impact, fun to tell and lack the gut-wrenching drama of hard news.  They may also be the most memorable stories in the newscast.  It’s news directors who despise sending their own staff to the cat show stories.

5.  TV reporters are unscrupulous. Mostly no.  They have ethical standards and can get fired if they don’t adhere to them.  However, some are pretty cutthroat when it comes to beating their competitors.

4.  TV reporters despise other TV reporters. Mostly untrue.  Competing reporters eat lunch and drink beer together after work all the time.  But a small handful will shake their fists and curse the presence of their competition.  TV photographers, on the other hand, are an almost universally collegial bunch.

3. TV reporters don’t work as hard as newspaper reporters do. Until recently, newspaper reporters could often go for days without actually producing a story.  That gave them time to develop stories and work beats.  Cutbacks in newspapers have changed that.  Meantime, TV reporters have to work constantly to service round-the-clock newscasts. from 5am to noon to 6pm to 11pm.  They all work equally hard.

2.  All TV reporters are anchor wannabes. Few TV reporters would turn down an anchor slot.  And the reason is simple:   Anchors make better money and don’t have the grinding workload reporters have.

1.  TV reporters are rolling in dough. No.  Starting reporters in markets like Savannah often have to take second jobs to make ends meet.  Atlanta TV reporters can make six-figure salaries after a few contract cycles.  But only the highest-profile reporters make the “big” money.  Most of ’em have credit card debt just like you do.