Many young journalists dread the idea of working in a tiny TV market for obvious reasons. Some worry they will have no social life, others shudder at the low salaries and some worry they’ll get lost in obscurity forever.
Lindsey Brown, on the other hand, has found a lot to love in her job at WTOK in Meridian, Mississippi (Market 185). Brown started at the station three years ago and has just signed a contract extension. In that time, she’s gone from general assignment reporter to weekend anchor to weeknight anchor (though she’s still on the weekends too until they can hire her replacement).
“I have found that not only do I love the finished product, I love the process,” Brown said.
A typical work day for Brown involves getting to work about 1 p.m., shooting, writing and fronting a vo-sot for the five o’clock show and then putting together a package for the six. Once she’s off the air, Brown begins producing the 10 p.m., which she also anchors.
“I’m still proud at the end of the day that I was able to get something done,” Brown said. “Maybe it isn’t exactly what I wanted to do but it still was accurate and it still had all the information needed and by the end of the day, you feel like you’ve contributed to something big.”
Brown is also embracing multimedia – posting stories to the Web and sending out Twitter updates. She says she likes how new technologies are allowing her to reach more people.
“The fact that there are so many ways to get out information, that’s exciting,” Brown said.
But she encourages anyone who plans to work in a small market to prepare by really getting to know the locale’s history and character.
“If you want to be successful immediately when you go to a small market, you need to understand how local politics work, regardless of where you are,” Brown said.
Brown hopes to make a move to Charlotte or New Orleans or Nashville, but for now, she’s making the most of her time in market 185.