Want a TV job? Think about station websites

Raycom regional exec Brad Conaway (center) talks with students interested in digital content careers. Photo by Ji Hoon Heo, April 4, 2016.

Raycom regional exec Brad Conaway (center) talks with students interested in digital content careers. Photo by Ji Hoon Heo, April 4, 2016.

Got news judgment, curiosity and energy?  Raycom’s Brad Conaway wants to talk to you.  The corporate digital content manager says good decision-making is essential when you’re running a TV station’s website and social channels.

“A lot of the job is news judgment.  You have to figure out, ‘Is this a web story? An app alert? Facebook?  What picture can I legally use? How do I make this interesting?'”

Conaway describes today’s digital jobs as positions that put audience first.

“You want to talk to your audience; meet them where they are.  You can do an exclusive investigative story with the most in-depth analysis, but if no one is interested, then why do it?”

Instead, Conaway says stations need to work with their digital content managers to find the interested audience wherever that may be.  He says Facebook is the primary mechanism for finding the digital news audience Raycom stations are after, and here’s his best advice creating strong Facebook content.

  • You have to ask interesting or provocative questions in your posts.
  • You need to read user comments, respond and keep the page dignified.
  • Link posts are the industry standard right now, but Conaway likes picture posts better.  He writes into the links on the station’s website to drive traffic there with a cliffhanger or an intriguing contradiction between the visual and the text.

“Clickbait is a bad word, but that’s what we’re trying to do, get people to the web.  The problem is, if what you’ve posted is a ruse, it is clickbait in the negative sense.  If you tell people you have something they need to see or read, you actually have to make it worth their while,” says Conaway.

For journalism and communication students about to graduate in May, the good news is that Raycom stations need you.  Conaway says they are open to hiring people right out of school, if they have the right skill sets.  So, what do you send on a resume or in a portfolio?

“I’d like to see their personal social media accounts and they can catch my attention with social media skills on a resume,” Conaway says. “We get so few applications for digital jobs at a station level that, unless you have zero relevant background, I’ll definitely follow up with a phone call.”

Salaries for these positions average around $24-26,000 a year but can vary depending on market, according to Conaway.  That’s about the same as a entry level TV reporter or producer position.

“It’s one of the areas of the broadcast industry where you can easily find employment and then work your way up.”