How To Get A Job In Broadcasting

19 Nov

I had the opportunity to attend the Pulse media and journalism conference at my ex-university, Wilfrid Laurier (we’re on good terms though).

Not only was it fascinating but it enforced a genuine sense of optimism for journalists-to-be.

Yes there are fewer jobs in traditional outlets but industry bigwigs truly believe there’s hope for the industry and those aspiring to be a part of it.

One of the speakers was Anne Kircos, the Human Resources manager for CTV Southwestern Ontario. She discussed marketing oneself as a young journalist to broadcast outlets and the steps taken to do so. Of course I scribbled down some notes and I would love to share them with you.

If you’re interested in broadcast or any kind of journalistic career, copy and save, nay, tattoo this info on your forehead. Okay bad idea, unless you want to go into radio.

It’s an extensive list so bear with me:

  • Versatility–The new-age journalist is a jack of all trades. Not only must you be able to report, but you must film, edit, and photograph as well. An attractive candidate is a one (wo)man show so take an active interest in technology even if it’s not your forte.
  • Same goes for radio. Hosts must also be sound editors, programmers, producers etc…
  • Image is everything–Good news is you don’t have to be a beauty queen to be on camera. Canadian networks look for real people but personalities that are put together. Confident, well spoken individuals who are representative of the Canadian population will outlive dimwitted supermodels. It’s about time.
  • Mobility–If you’re willing to relocate to a remote area, good on you. The advantage to reporting from the middle of nowhere is you will have more responsibility. More responsibilities = more experience = best resume ever. Slowly but surely you can work your way back to the big city if you so desire (and if you’re good enough).
  • Writers–Broadcast outlets always need writers. Lend your skills to the newsroom or freelance! Great portfolio building guaranteed.
  • Experience–They know we’re students. There aren’t a lot of us that will have extensive portfolios but you have to give them something. Anne suggests you gain experience in at least one of the following ways:
  1. Volunteering for a community station
  2. Freelancing for different media outlets / websites
  3. Interning anywhere you can
  • What they want--A Demo tape and a Resume. For television, the demo should include behind the desk and environmental shots as well as some footage you filmed yourself. Both radio and TV demos should prove your ability to orally and visually tell a story.
  • Persistence–If you send your resume and demo to five network VPs and they all land up on Anne’s desk, it looks way better than one. Be a pain in the ass, be aggressive and assertive, but don’t be too cocky.
  • Knowing is succeeding–If you are able to get an interview, do your research. Anne is shocked at how many people can’t give her a handful of stories that could be aired that day on any given station. Why are people applying for broadcasting positions that don’t have any knowledge of current events? I don’t even know. Beyond that, research the network. Know who works there, tell them who you admire and who pisses you off.

I understand this is a handful to take in but it’s worth investing your time to meet these expectations. Anne and her HR buddies know we’re not perfect. They are willing to train us to iron out the flaws so don’t worry about having the wrong ‘look’, just concern yourself with working as hard as you can to acquire the knowledge and experience needed to survive in this industry.

Throughout the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting some tid bits from the conference so keep on reading on.

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