It’s May and you know what that means… thousands of college journalism grads descend on news directors across the nation, all vying for hundreds of reporter jobs. Yes, that’s right — thousands of graduates, hundreds of jobs — even if you’re not particularly good at math, you know that adds up to the fact that your resume reel has to stand out.
Most reporters will start off a reporter reel with a montage of stand-ups, but you can definitely overdo that approach.
“I would keep them to 40-45 seconds,” says Bob Noonan, news director at WPMI, Mobile/Pensacola.
Broadcast journalist Stephen Quinn is graduating from college in June. He opens his resume reel with stand-ups and anchoring.
Keith Esparros of KNBC in Los Angles says some reporters might do better without the traditional round robin of stand-ups at all.
“I realize I’m a bit of a rogue on this; I’ve looked at a few thousand in my day,” says Esparros. “If you are particularly good at stand-ups – you look good and sound good, you’re working your stand-up, you’re taking me somewhere – then it’s OK to do four or five; however, it can work against you if they’re not very good.”
Job seekers must also figure out how many reporter packages to include.
“There’s no magic number,” says Esparros. “Keep it to less than five minutes, three packages at the most.”
For Noonan, it’s also important to see how the reporter will look in a live situation, even if that means including a “look live” for the reel.
“What I really like on a live shot is if the package and the live shot sound the same,” says Noonan. He wants a reporter to sound as natural when narrating pre-recorded packages as he or she does live.
Both men say it’s fine to include a little bit of anchoring from a news desk, but it shouldn’t make up the bulk of your presentation.
So how do you get your reel and resume in front of a news director?
“I think URLs are best,” said Esparrso. “It’s not a bad idea to also send a DVD since I get about 400-500 emails a day. Sending a resume on a piece of paper and a physical reel is good reminder, but put the URL on the paper too.”