Getting a job in TV

What are news directors looking for in an entry- level reporter? After a month of working at WTVA in Tupelo and talking with the news director, student journalist Allie Ware is sharing some of the insight she’s gained.

WTVA’s news director, Jeff Houston, says when it comes to creating a resume DVD, it’s important to capture the attention of a news director in the very beginning.

“I want to be interested within the first 15 seconds of a tape. If there is nothing I like within the first 15 seconds, I will take the DVD out and trash it,” Houston said.

He recommended creative stand ups in a quick montage, leading to good quality packages to capture attention.

“Basically I just don’t want to see you standing there. Be interactive and move around, and don’t put anchoring on your tape because you will not be hired as an anchor right out of college,” said Houston.

Though websites are a good way to showcase a journalist’s work and talents, Houston urged journalism majors to be careful about what impression they give when creating a resume website.

“I realize that professional headshots look good, but on a website, it makes it look like its all about you when in reality, I want to know what you can do for me and the station,” Houston said.

Instead, Houston suggests using photos of you at work work, such as frame grabs from stand ups or photos of you conducting an interview. News directors want to see what a job candidate looks like working in the field not in dramatic lighting, with extra make up. Also, Houston says skip the online biographies.

“I need Diane Sawyer’s biography, not someone who doesn’t really have a history in the industry,” he joked.

Questions about history or work experience will be asked in interviews and thought should be put into those answers before the interview.  Houston says the job is not glamorous.

“In your first years as a reporter you are going to be covering the things that nobody else wants to cover,” said Houston.

He says reporters work long hours, and do not make much money. They also are expected to work through holidays and in bad weather. Houston points out that reporters get to do and go to places and events that other members of society do not, but they are also required to go to places that nobody wants to go to.

Thanks to Allie for sharing what she learned.

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