by Adam Plyler (2011), Guest Blogger
Producing the news is a very exciting career choice, especially if you don’t want to be in-front of the camera. Currently I produce the 11PM and 6AM newscasts. One of the great things about producing is getting the chance to see your work watched by hundreds-of-thousands of people in your market.
I begin my weekday shifts at 6 p.m. I scope the local news outlets, emails and other tips to see what’s new in the area. During this time, I also listen to the scanner for any breaking news. During the newscast we also have weather, sports, national and world news. Producing is a lot of hard work and takes delicate writing skills, but if you truly have a love for news it can be an exciting career choice.
Numerous classes at Westminster prepared me for this career path. Any advice I would give to the inspiring producer is to take numerous news writing courses. Grammar is very important and the more you know how to write for news, the less you will struggle with your daily tasks.
All good producers know how to shoot an edit video. When you take a job offer in a smaller market you will be needed to do all sorts of tasks. Take advantage of all the resources you have at Westminster, and make sure you put forth extra effort outside the classroom. There are so many extra-curricular options during the school year to advance your broadcast knowledge. Above all, have fun with it. If you don’t enjoy the field in college, you’re not going to enjoy it in your everyday life.
When you graduate from Westminster, you’re probably ask yourself, “What do I do now?” This is where your demo reel and resume come into play.
The Broadcasting and Communication Studies curriculum are perfect for preparing you for the real world, and even helps you captivate employers with an awesome resume and demo reel. Take advantage of this because once you leave, your easy-access to gear is limited. When making your demo reel don’t be afraid to be yourself. When hiring a potential employee, whether it’s for a producing job or for a talent position, we look for personality, so let it shine. There is definitely a happy medium between being too stiff and too loose. The classes will help you determine what is good to put in, and what you should leave out.
When looking for a job, aim high. Don’t be intimidated to apply for a big market. When I graduated I sent out 108 resumes, and only heard back from 3 stations. Also, don’t be intimidated by a move. Take the job at a lower market if you have to, work for 2 to 3 years to gain experience, then move back home and accept the job you dreamed of since you were 10-years-old. And most importantly, failure is an option. It is ok to fail!!!!!!! The only way to learn is to fall and pick yourself up. Especially while in school, make mistakes and learn. That is the only way to get better. You have to network. Make friends with anyone you can in the field. You never know when your paths might cross again. My final word of advice, surround yourself with people that will make YOU a better person.
One thing I learned from my time at Westminster is you reap what you sow. If you want to put in the minimal effort, then you’re going to get the minimal return. And, keep in touch with your professors, Mr. Brad Weaver gave me advice every time I asked him, as did Dr. David Barner and Dr. Keith Corso. Lastly, use alumni to your advantage. A lot of us hold powerful positions in various fields of broadcasting. Anytime you need advice from me feel free to ask. Good luck this year to all students!