How to Become a TV Reporter

So you wanna be a rock super star, and live large. A big house, five cars?

Thank you Google for the Cypress Hill lyrics. And I TOLD YOU IT WAS "FIVE CARS" GOOD DOCTOR!!!

I was singing that the other day while we were walking Emmy and the dogs and he was all, "It's FINE cars, Vicky. Pffftt. Five cars? Hahahahaaha." Well, look who's laughing now. Reminds me of the time we bet 20 million dollars on what Beyonce was saying in Bootylicious. I said it was, "I don't think you're ready for this jelly." And he was all, "No, it's 'I don't think you're ready for this. Yell it.'" You still owe me 20 MILLION BUCKS Mister.

By the way, if I ever offer to bet you 20 million bucks, you shouldn't bet me. I only bet 20 million bucks when I'm 100% sure, final answer, lock it in, NO DEAL!

Anyway, I've been getting a few emails recently asking how to become a reporter.

The short answer: Don't. 

The longer answer: Why?

The longest answer: Fine. If you're sure money is no object, and you love love LOVE working hard and telling stories and you don't need back patting or hand holding and you're ok with an industry that changes every five minutes and not seemingly in a direction that improves the quality of journalism, here's what you do.

Get an internship. You really can't possibly become a TV reporter without knowing what the job entails. And you also need to start building your network. You know, the people who will get to know you, be impressed by you, and make phone calls for you and vouch for you. Plus, you need a resume reel. One that consists of a few stand ups and a few stories. So news directors can see and hear you. Here's some examples of what I'm talking about. You can also go on Youtube and search "reporter resume tapes/reels."

Once you make your resume reel, you need to start sending it out to markets all across the country. Odds are you will one man band to start. And nowadays, maybe you'll one man band for your whole career. Which means, in addition to being a good writer, you need to be a good shooter and editor. You can train yourself, but that's another reason internships are so helpful. Free training. In exchange for your help at the station. 

I've written about how to make the most of your internship here and how much you may expect to make in your first job here. And if you search my site under "Jobs" "Career" "Work," you'll find other insights and rants about this job that may be helpful in deterring you. Or revving you up, you masochist you. If you have what it takes to be a reporter, you've already read all that and that's why you emailed me.

Sites I've also found helpful include TV Jobs and Talent Dynamics.

Sites that tell it like it is Local News Queen and Live Apartment Fire.

Characteristics and abilities you must have. They are not optional and non negotiable:

Tenacity. Self-motivation. Cojones. Self-awareness. Confidence. The ability to see and take BS. The ability to get around BS. The ability to call your own shots while others are calling your shots. An open mind and willingness to work with people, I mean really work with people, from every odd corner of the mental landscape. And I'm not even talking about the gen pop.

Things that are nice to have but not required:

A supportive significant other who listens well and allows you to kvetch. Unlimited supplies of cash. A supportive significant other with unlimited supplies of cash.

That should be enough to get you started. Getting the first job is always the hardest. Once you're in, it's like a gang. You have to get jumped out.