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2012 career day presentation


My overview of being a professional journalist for local high school and middle school students.

My overview of being a professional journalist for local high school and middle school students.

Published in News & Politics , Business
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  • Why are *YOU* interested in being a journalist?REVEALSome of these are good reasons… some not so much. Hopefully by the end of our talk today, you’ll know which is which.
  • EXCITINGTHREE EXAMPLES OF STORIESSome of the most memorable stories I’ve done:Awesome – Covering Gator games and baseball spring trainingCommunity festivals Sad – Children and elderly being mauled by family and neighborhood dogsA sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of dutyWeird – Professor at the University of Florida stealing and keeping human body parts at his home for his own private collection… like decorationsREMAINING BULLETSAccess to people:Governors, mayors, city council members, famous coaches and athletesSome of the people listed off, I had their cell numbers and their Nextel direct connect numbers!Stories you’ll be able to carry with you: Billy Donovan and Steve Spurrier introduction stories
  • At the heart of every good story are good soundbites / quotesREVEALJoeAny of the national championships that I covered at Florida. And I was fortunate to cover a lot of them. 2 hoops, 2 football. If I had to pick one, however, it would be the first basketball championship against UCLA. The success with basketball was so unexpected, you’re so close to the action. I mean, I was 4th row courtside against one of the most respected and widely-recognizedtraditional powers in the sport in UCLA. There’s confetti falling on your head, famous basketball players running around near you. In an event like that, I was just thrilled to be there. I would have paid to be there anyway, but instead I was being paid. The access is amazing. JoelRiding back into town with the 351st Military Police Unit in Ocala a few years back. I got on the bus with them up in Citra and rode back into town videoing their reactions to the welcome that our communitywas providing. After 16 or so months in the desert in Iraq, they were thrilled to see literally thousands of people lining the roads to welcome them home. They rode on flatbeds for a short parade to the Veterans park and then marched in for the ceremony. People were yanking soldiers out of formation to hug them. What powerful stuff! We’ll hear from Sarah in just a little bit…QUESTIONS?
  • DO ALL REVEALSAnd not even all journalists can brag that they make a living!When I first started out, I can remember being offered as little as $14,000 a year to work at some crummy station in Upper-Peninsula Michigan… that’s below the poverty line and most of the way into Canada!
  • DO ALL REVEALS A couple of examples from me:In college, I can remember having skipping dates with my girlfriend because I needed to watch an important sports event that I’d have to talk about the next day.I also had to wake up at 4:45am for two years to do the morning drive newscast on the radio… and trust me, I didn’t feel like partying with friends that night!Early in my career as a reporter, I had to cover the news during Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s. The news still has to go on the air! And I spent that time away from my family…Joe:Earlier in my career, in my mid-20s, I was dead-set against any relationship. “I’m going to ESPN… I’m not living here and I don’t want to settle down with a girl.” It held me back in my social life… but that was my conscious decision. I’m pushing 40 years old now … and you begin to realize personal life is more important. I’d love to take a girl out on a Fri/Sat, but those are my biggest work nights. And I work *every* night. Even doing stuff with friends is hit or miss… for example, an old fraternity brother called me up the other day and said: “Hey are you still alive?” And I have to say:“Ok… I’ll meet you at 11:45 at night… when the sports for the night are done. And by that point, I’ve missed half the night’s fun.”Joel:The school board job is a nice 8-5, M-F gig (with a few exceptions), so I can have a normal social and family life. My freelance job takes me away more, both with travel and time of day. Games are played at night, which means I'm working when everyone else is home and vice versa. That's why a lot of TV people date co-workers...they're the only ones on similarly crazy schedules.QUESTIONS?
  • PERSONAL APPEARANCE<<material>>Joe:It’s different in the world of High Definition TV, by the way. I used to slap some make-up on 2 minute before. Not now! It’s very involved. Spray gun, a little apron, powder… lots of make-up. You don’t necessarily enjoy that part!STYLE OF THE STORIES YOU DO<<material>>Joel:I've done more on-air stuff with radio than TV. I love TV because you can show things, but you also have to be able to show it, otherwise you probably can't do that story. In TV, you can stop and let the pictures tell the story. If you do that in radio, it's dead air, so you need to have more information on-hand to fill in those moments.Sarah:The first couple of times I encountered local TV crews when covering stuff, it was an experience. Even though people see my bylines and knew I wrote the story, people see the TV cameras and the reporters, and it’s instant star power and recognition. And the only thing we have is that pen and paper. So there’s some advantages for them there.The other half of that coin, though… the same thing that gives them an advantage… can be a disadvantage. In situations where there’s a tragedy, accident, fire… people will see a camera and be a little less willing to talk. In those instances, the simple pen and paper are less scary. People are willing to open up … and the camera doesn’t help the broadcast teams as much. QUESTIONS?
  • ADD YOUR OPINIONS:<<material>>Joel:Radio can go into more depth because you don't have to have video to show. That's why there are many more talk shows on radio than TV. You have to take that into account when preparing. Joe:In TV, it’s very uni-directional. I’m talking to you, the words are in front of me, I’ve written them. It’s not very difficult. In radio, we’re taking callers. They can be asking anything. You have to have a really wide base of knowledge, think on your feet, handle adverse opinions, someone says something inappropriate on the air. Radio is more challenging b/c of the interaction and uncertainty.TIMING OF THE NEWS:<<material>>QUESTIONS?
  • WHAT SKILL DO YOU THINK YOU NEED TO HAVE TO BE A GOOD JOURNALIST?Writing skillsSarah:Practice writing. It’s ironic. When you’re in school, teachers encourage you to take at least 10 pages and you think “how in the world will I ever fill up 10 pages??” Now when you’re a journalist, you have to get that 10 same pages worth of stuff into so many columns. And if you like to write, you like to write so that’s a challenge. Good AwarenessJoel:You need good vision and hearing. You have to be able to see clear enough to focus and hear well enough to balance and edit audio. You have to be able to think on your feet and you have to be aware of your surroundings. I've gotten a lot of great video simply by paying attention to what's going on around me. In last year's UF-FSU game, I saw Trey Burton line up as holder on a FG attempt, something he never does. I realized something was up and focused on him and got a great shot of him picking up a first down on the fake. I was at a high school game when I heard the coach tell his QB to "run it again" after a fullback dive. Well, I knew exactly who was getting the ball and where to point the camera. I looked like a genius but all I really did was listen.My news example: Roll your camera ahead when going into a hostile situation.Organization SkillsPeople Skills
  • <<material>>QUESTIONS?
  • <<material>>
  • Joe:Get into it. Intern. Go to your local radio station/ tv station / newspaper. Tell them: “I will get your coffee, I’ll run errands. Whatever. You don’t have to pay me.”Do it for the right reasons. “I want to be on TV” is not a good reason. Do it b/c you have a passion for sports / news / your community / storytelling. The compensation and hours are rough. So you have to do it for the right reasons.Joel:Find somebody to shadow. That can be hard around here because there aren't a lot of media types. Spending a day (or better several days) following them around will give you a much better idea of what they go through. Sarah:If you have a school newspaper… or the local newspaper, if you they take volunteers, reach out. Get involvedJoel:Some days will be fun and glitz and glamour. Some days you'll be pulling your hair out you're so bored. And for heaven's sake, do REAL journalism...not that TMZ crap.


  • 1. “So You Want to Tell Stories, Eh?”An Overview of Being a Professional Journalist Michael Price – Bank of America April 17, 2012
  • 2. Michael Price Former television journalist turned MBA and retail banker, focusing now on making presentations for a living. • 2 years - Communications Consultant @ Bank of America • 2 years - Television Photojournalist @ Marion County Public Schools • 3 years - Television Bureau Chief / Reporter @ WCJB-TV20 (ABC) Gainesville / OcalaMe: 10 years ago… • 3 years - Student Radio Personality @ WRUF-AM 850, Gainesville
  • 3. Why Consider Being a Journalist?• I love writing• It looks exciting• I care about my community• Uncovering the truth• I want my face on TV / People to hear me• I want to be famous
  • 4. Being a Journalist: The Good• It’s exciting• Meet interesting and famous people• Access to people, places, and events you wouldn’t get otherwise• Use your writing and networking skills to make a living
  • 5. Joe GirvanSports AnchorESPN 760 (Radio), WPTV-TV (NBC), WFLX-TV (Fox),West Palm Beach Joel Hartley Photojournalist / Video Editor • Marion County Public Schools • Freelance Photojournalist for Cox Sports Television (New Orleans) and CSS (Atlanta) Sarah Wojcik Police Beat Reporter Eastern Express Times, Bethlehem PA
  • 6. Being a Journalist: The … Um, Not as Good The pay isn’t so great 98% of journalists: 2% Make a living 2% of journalists: 98% OMG I’M RICH AND WEALTHY AND SOCIALLY SECURE *Purely unscientific numbers supported by no data or facts … it’s just to illustrate my point.
  • 7. Being a Journalist: The … Um, Not as Good Life WORK Dating Family Hanging out with Friends
  • 8. Different Types of Media“He’s got a face for “…and a voice for radio…” print.”
  • 9. Print / Online Radio Television• Just be a good • Sound the part • Look and sound the part. journalist! • Go live without a • Go live with or without a• More casual dress prompter or script teleprompter• Guys, no make-up! • Look the part for • Make up! “remotes”• More detailed, in- • Words have to paint • Your video and “Nat depth stories the pictures of news / sound” is the most• Photos with captions sports compelling part of the help tell your story • “Nat sound” can help story. propel your story • Your words forward complement the images.
  • 10. Print / Online Radio Television• Opinions are expected • Opinions are bread • Time is precious (editorials) and butter of the • Not usually room /• More scripted / medium through talk appropriate for controlled shows (not in opinions (sports are newscasts) ok) – unless you have a talk show format• Make press time for • News / Sports are • News / Sports are the morning edition always happening always happening (print) • Updates can be any • Updates can be any• Updates can be any time time time (online)• Stories are snapshots of a point in time written in the past
  • 11. What You Need To Get the Job Done• Writing Skills – Quickly answer “So What?” and “Who Cares?” – Write under deadline pressure – Limited space / time to present your story – Write to your video / sound / photos• Good Awareness, Vision, Hearing – You have to uncover the best stories – In broadcast, you have to be able to balance and edit audio / video• Organization Skills – Keep tabs on potential stories / follow-ups – Generally cover multiple stories in a day… plan carefully! – Back up equipment! Just in case!• People Skills – People are your most important resource! They generate the news and provide quotes and sound bites! – Contacts in the community provide leads – but you have to maintain the relationship – You always have to answer: “What’s this person’s motivation?”
  • 12. A Day in the Life: How a Team Works TogetherAssignment Desk – Keeps track of Reporter / Photographer – Goes Reporter – Writes the story. Good onesstory ideas. Assigns stories to reporter into the field and covers multiple coordinate with their photographer. / photographer teams. stories per day. Photographer – Submits photos or edits audio/video. Good ones coordinate with their reporter. Production Crew – Producer / Editor – Decides the order and the format in which News Director / Copy Editor – Airs the piece (broadcast). Reviews and approves stories. stories will be presented.
  • 13. What Else Can You Do?• Communications• Public Relations• Politics• Sales• Anything that requires someone with awesome people and communications skills!
  • 14. What I did then as a reporter… Share story Assigned a Something Story is with story by mynewsworthy Assignment approved by thousands of happens News Director viewers every Desk team Uncover Assemble day the details the Story and with the capture right the images words to tell the andBank of America right story images Story is Share story has an Assigned a opportunity to approved by the with improve and presentation same co-workers thousands ofbetter serve its by my boss who provide me employees customers information every week What I do now as a communications consultant…
  • 15. How Do You Break In the Biz?• Shadow, volunteer, get on somebody’s radar!• Do it for the right reasons!!