Every journalism student hears the same advice: Plan to start small, and work your way up. But what does it really mean to “start small?”
Will your first job in TV news be easy? Glamorous? Lucrative? Not likely. You’ll work hard, make personal and financial sacrifices, and learn a ton of things they didn’t teach you in J-school. Along the way, your dreams may shatter. Or you may just find your way to the job you’ve always wanted.
A new documentary produced by Karin and Bill Schwanbeck, who teach journalism at Quinnipiac University, tells the unvarnished story. The film follows five young journalists as they struggle with the reality of small-market TV news. The long hours and low pay. The demands of working alone as a VJ/MMJ, generating stories, shooting, writing, editing. Along the way, the filmmakers talk to Mary Bock, now at the University of Texas, whose research on VJ’s we featured a few years back. (Full disclosure: they also interviewed me.)
Small Markets, Big Dreams runs an hour. It’s well worth watching.