Reporter, know thy market

5420350_BG1[1]At a time when many journalists are struggling to find jobs, anchor Rhori Johnston of WTVF in Nashville says folks who already have positions need to work hard to hold on to them.

Speaking to a group of 34 broadcast journalists at the SPJ Reporters Institute, Johnston said it’s more important than ever to come in early, stay late and go in on your own time – especially if you have a story you’re passionate about.

Johnston says some of that time should be invested in learning as much as you can about the communities you cover.

You have to know your market; what’s right Nashville is not what’s right in Las Vegas.

For example, Johnston says he’s created a folder filled with printouts of bios on Tennesee’s governor, Nashville’s mayor and key city council folks.  He wants to have that info at his fingertips in the case of breaking news.

Johnston has a list of suggestions for researching your own market.

  • Talk to sales people to get a feel for business trends and local industries.
  • Meet with a station meterologist to get a feel with the weather issues in your market.
  • Know your congressional leaders and the committees they serve on.
  • Learn  how the local judicial system works.

Johnston says collecting this kind of background will make you a better journalist and it may just offer a little job security, too.

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