For years, aspiring TV journalists have been told to expect to start in a small market where they’ll do it all–report, write, shoot and edit. Then they could move up to bigger and bigger markets, where eventually they would only have to do one of those things. That may not be true any more.
At the Radio-Television News Directors Association convention in Las Vegas today, news managers said they expect journalists to keep “doing it all” in the biggest markets. “The new paradigm is that we’re all content gatherers,” said Adam Symson, vice president/interactive for the Scripps TV group. Multimedia journalists who really can do it all for TV and online are “extremely valuable,” he said. He advises students to produce not just a great tape but clips in AP style as well, and says his company is actively recruiting.
News director Marian Pittman of WSB-TV in Atlanta said reporters at her station are assigned “a 5, a 6 and a W”–a story for the Web site, which she called “our other channel.” Lasvegasnow.com, the Web site of KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, has developed a new job category just for the Web called “community guide”–journalists who cover specific neighborhoods, shoot their own stories and blog for the site.
So it sounds like there are jobs to be had, but be advised–they still won’t pay much. Pittman was especially blunt in describing the future. Some salaries will be frozen, some will be cut drastically, she said, as the station moves to a “two-tier” newsroom, with only a few highly paid employees.