I hear it all the time. “You’re on TV? That must be so cool!” Or “You work for the news. That must be so exciting.” Yes working in broadcast television does have its moments. I’ve interviewed famous musicians, actors and actresses. I spent a day racing around in a $250,000 Lamborghini. I’ve gotten to pig out on all kinds of delicious food and been pampered at a spa all in the name of a story.
However, there are the not so glamorous parts people watching at home rarely get to see:
- Heart Breaking Stories
Shootings, car accidents, child and animal cruelty cases, these are just some of the stories a journalist covers on a daily basis. Yes we do report on good things going on in the community but a majority of the time we have to cover negative stories. If you’re not careful it can desensitize you. It can also make you hug your loved ones a little tighter each night.
- Odd Hours
Most people in the media work odd hours. Let’s face it how can someone in news work a 9-5 job when most stations are just going on air at 5pm? It doesn’t make sense. Morning crews come in anywhere from 12am-3am and work till around noon. Dayside crews arrive around 9-10am and work through the evening newscast, which means they’re usually off the clock after 6pm. If you’re working nightside, you work from 3pm until after the 11 o’clock news. You are fine if you’re single and living on your own but it can be difficult if you’re married and trying to raise a family like yours truly.
- Dirty News Cars
They might look cool driving down the road but let me tell you most news trucks are disgusting inside. Reporters and photographers essentially live in them and when one crew gets out, another one gets in to head out on their story.
- Constantly Being Criticized
When you make a mistake at your job (because let’s face it we all do), you hear about it from your boss. If you make a mistake and you work in the media, it will be on YouTube before you can blink your eyes. As journalists we’ve learned to develop a thick skin because social media has given people a platform to sound off about things they’d never say to your face and criticize things you wouldn’t even think of. I have been on the receiving end of this and let me tell you it’s not fun.
Does it seem like your favorite news station is always having reporters, anchors, or meteorologist leave? That’s the nature of the business. When you get a promotion, you move up in your company. When we want to advance our careers, it requires moving to another station, usually in another city. I’ve said goodbye to a number of friends in this business. They’ve moved on to have great careers all across the country and thanks to social media we can still stay in touch.