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How to Find TV Reporter or News Anchor Jobs
The world of television news is fast-paced and dynamic. It is also very competitive. To land a job in this industry and keep it takes determination.
Awareness of what this kind of work entails and preparing well is key to landing a position. The right education and a developed set of the necessary skills help ensure success in this demanding but rewarding field!
Education For Television Jobs
There are specialized schools around the country that teach you all aspects of work in the industry. They issue a diploma upon completion, which is usually between 6 months and a year. There is some debate about the worth of spending extra money for a trade school as opposed to a regular college.
Most reporters earn at least a Bachelor's Degree, in various majors such as Communication, Journalism, TV Production. These programs teach the skills it takes to be a reporter, plus concerns like media and copyright law and fair practices.
If you want to cover a particular "beat" like politics or business, you'll want to take classes in that area on top of the regular curriculum. Knowledge in any particular field can increase a reporter's expertise and value
Any good college program will include an internship at a television station. It is there when classroom learning meets real life - the student sees the daily work of a reporter or anchor as it really is.
Better Known Schools that Offer Broadcast Journalism
Length of Program
University of Illinois
University of Southern California
University of Miami
Skills To Develop For TV Reporting & Anchoring
Communication - To be successful, a reporter must be able to give information in a clear, concise way. Strong writing and speaking skills are essential. Storytelling talent, a gift for connecting with people, and a likable personality bring coverage to life.
Multi-tasking - There may be a few projects on a reporter's plate at one time. Perhaps one is for that night's show and another is a weekly spot - it's vital to be able to prioritize every day.
Flexibility - A story in progress can get pushed aside temporarily in favor of a more immediate situation to follow. A reporter must be willing to adjust quickly to a new plan if needed.
Handling pressure - Deadlines are always looming for reporters. There may be very little time to prepare a report, especially during a larger-scale event. Every reporter needs to find healthy ways to relieve daily stress.
Focus - Being able to stay tuned into the task at hand keeps the reporter's work sharp and clear. Being able to block out distractions, like other reporters at the same location for example, is huge.
Thinking on your feet - Sometimes a story can take a different turn, or an interviewee can say something unexpected. A reporter can utilize those moments to better tell a story.
Readiness - A reporter may spot potential stories or happen upon an idea, even on a day off. When a big story develops, the producer may call "all hands on deck", and everyone needs to respond right away if possible.
What The Jobs Are Like
Reporters are often assigned to cover stories by the show's producer. It could be anything from a local holiday parade to a town meeting addressing an issue of importance to viewers.
The team, usually a reporter, a camera person and maybe an assistant producer, will go to the location and set up a spot to report from. Then, they prepare short segments to air on the newscast. Sometimes a reporter will "anticipate" an event, explaining what will be happening later on at their location. Later, there might be a review of what happened, with some interviews of people involved or attenders.
On any given day, a reporter could work on a number of different projects.
If a reporter has a certain focus, such as sports, the range of story choices is of course more narrow. Some stay mainly in the newsroom and follow daily or weekly happenings. But they might also travel and do more "people" oriented pieces to enhance coverage.
Sometimes reporters can pitch their own story ideas to producers. Human interest profiles of local people are often encouraged for filling out a newscast.
Anchors tend to stay settled in the main newsroom. They start their shift with a meeting to be briefed on the day's news, what is already in place and what stories are in development by reporters in the field.
They often help pull together the flow of the newscast, even adding or editing copy that has been provided. They spend the last hour or so before showtime finalizing the order of reports and what they will say.
Note: Anchors often start as reporters. And many times a future anchor is discovered when a reporter is willing to substitute for the regular anchor during a day off or a special assignment.
Where The Jobs Are
The most logical place to start is the local area. Students away at school can apply for jobs near where they graduate, or in their hometown. Another source of jobs is regional cable stations, like the New England Cable News Network.
National news jobs are few and far between, and generally go to more seasoned reporters and anchors. Securing work at that level is a good goal to aspire to after gaining more experience.
How To Find Them
One of the best ways to explore the job market in an area is by doing an internship or volunteering. Most stations have need of help for overnight or holiday shifts, which can be a great time to learn the ropes.
Doing good quality work, even for little or no pay, results in a network of people in the business, and a reputation for excellence. Both are invaluable to a job search in a competitive market - as well as learning early about upcoming job openings.
Students have access to internships and jobs that others may not get without a lot of digging. The school's guidance department includes career counselors who work one-on-one with students and alumni to find jobs that are a good fit.
Setting an appointment to sit down with someone is an important first step. The counselor will help you clarify your goals, and then help you not only on your search for open jobs, but with crafting a resume and interview prep.
Each television station should have a list of open positions on it's own website. But there are other places to research possibilities.
Websites like TV Jobs.com post positions open and offer advice for putting together resumes and promotional DVDs. CCNMA.org is another site that lists various paid positions, along with internships for television, radio and print media.
It is wise to make sure each website is legitimate, and doesn't ask for money to provide work information - also that the listings are up-to-date.
Tips For Job-Hunting Success
A High-quality Resume Tape.
This should showcase strengths - good writing, on-camera charisma, etc. The camera work needs to be done as professionally as possible.
Follow-up On Each Application
Every job listing will get a lot of response. The people who follow up with a phone call and email will demonstrate their desire to a producer. Even if a certain job doesn't work out, a positive connection can be made to someone in the industry.
An Attitude Of Persistance
A smart strategy, especially at first, is to apply for a lot of positions and to send out a lot of tapes. Putting energy into each potential job keeps momentum going while waiting for responses.
Getting a job can take some time. Thought it is easy to get frustrated, it's important to stay focused on each day and what can be done towards the goal. Time waiting can be spent honing skills and improving abilities.