Want To Be A News Reporter, But Was Offered a Job As A Producer?

Want To Be A Reporter,
But Was Offered a Job
As A Producer?

Written by News Gal
🕒 July 30, 2019

I turned down my very first job offer in TV news.

I was a 22-year-old who was eager to land a job as a reporter. The job offer was in a Top 100 market, and it was close to where I went to college so I would still be near my friends.

I interviewed at the station, liked everyone I met, and was excited about possibly working there. Then, I got the offer…

It was for an associate producer job with the “promise” that I could report when I had time. It was a part-time position, paying $14,000 a year, and the boss told me I would need to waitress when I was off to afford living in the area.

I considered the job, because it was a job. The problem was, my passion was not producing. I wanted a reporter job.

I turned down the offer, and I am so glad I did.

Image result for denzel relieved gif

A month later, I landed my first on-air reporter/anchor job in a small market. Eleven years later I’m still anchoring and reporting, but now I’m in a Top 50 market.

I often hear from people who ask if they should take a producer, assignment editor, photographer, or web job at a station just to get their foot in the door. For some people, this does work.

I know a girl who took a job as a writer in a Top 10 market, and now she’s a reporter. I also know someone who took a producer job in a Top 25 market and now she’s an anchor.

On the other hand, I know a lot of people who took jobs because they wanted a foot in the door, and they’re still in those same positions years later.

The station I work at always tells people they can take a producer job, and end up on-air. It has never happened. So here are a few things you’ll want to consider before taking a job that’s not the position you WANT in a newsroom…

1. Will your ND put in your contract that you can report?

🗣️ If it’s not in writing, it’s probably never going to happen!

If your boss tells you that you can report on your days off, or when someone is sick, make sure that’s in your contract. Bosses are notorious for telling you what you want to hear during an interview, and many of them never plan to follow through on those promises.

If they won’t put it in your contract, don’t be surprised when you’re still producing by the time your contract is up.

2. Have other people transitioned to other roles in the newsroom?

Ask current, and former employees of the station, if they can think of anyone who moved from a producer to a reporter role.

If the answer is no, then your luck probably won’t be much better. If the answer is yes, talk with that person to find out how the process worked and what you should do to make sure you get that same opportunity.

3. Are you OK with being a producer?

Image result for I love my job gif

This goes for any position.

At the end of the day, will producing (or whatever the position is) make you happy? If not, you should say no.

If you have no desire to produce, but you’re doing it in hopes of getting on-air eventually, you’re going to be miserable. That’s not good for you or the rest of the team.

4. Why are you settling for this job?

You want to be a reporter. So why are you settling for a producer job? Is this your dream market? Dream station? If it is, then I understand wanting to take any job to be a part of the team.

If it’s not, then what the heck are you doing?! Don’t give up and take a job just because you got an offer. Keep sending out reporter reels, keep calling news directors, and keep networking to find the position you want.

5. What’s the growth potential?

I have a friend who switched from reporting to producing. A lot of people thought she was crazy. She did it because she ended up with better hours, more money, and now, a management position. She still gets to tell stories and she has way more control over the news product as a producer.

She is happier now than she’s ever been in her career—and, trust me, she NEVER thought she would want to do anything other than report.

If a certain job will give you more personal happiness and professional growth, definitely consider it.

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you RateMyStation.com for writing this article about this matter which is ongoing for many entry-level job seekers and college graduates that can’t seem to catch a real, genuine break in local TV news. I strongly wish that all news directors are real, authentic, and genuinely honest with entry-level job seekers whether they can truly help entry-level job seekers that genuinely wants to be a reporter/MMJ, but are getting interviews for producers roles or the news director just want them as a “producer” claiming they can do news reporting on their time when there is no time. Thank you for writing this. I wish that all starter-market news directors (even the good ones in the good/best starter stations) are completely open, frank transparent, sincerely, truly, authentically, and genuinely honest with entry-level job seekers. There should more additional conversations about this and especially on why news directors and others keep saying to people “to be a producer in order to be a reporter” or making an attempt to offer someone a producer job when the job candidate’s passion is to be a reporter.

    This particular matter is not discussed at all J-schools (journalism schools) and the J-School professors (full-time and adjunct) and all other faculty members there as well as in colleges and universities knows the real truth. Same thing goes for on-air demo reel companies, such as Reel Media Group, American Broadcast Talent, and Showcase Resume Tapes, TV agents, TVSpy.com, FTVLive (Scott Jones), executive producers at all markets, and news assistants, desk assistants, and news associates jobs at national media outlets like NBC News, CNN, CBS News, ABC News, FOX News, and PBS NewsHour . Each one of them all know the real truth!

    Again, thank you, RateMyStation for shedding the light on this. There must more discussions and conversations about this ongoing matter which is neither fair nor right to entry-level job seekers and job candidates.

  2. I know some people who went from producer to reporter but it doesn’t happen very often. I love producing though and hate the idea of reporting

  3. Hello ProducerMaddy, thank you for your comment. I just wish that news director, assistant news producers, general managers, and executive producers, and professionals in the local TV news industry are completely open and honest with entry-level job seekers, college students, and college graduates. Especially, all news directors and assistant news directors at all starter (small) market stations. I wish they were honest. Even WCAV-TV CBS 19 News in Charlottesville, Virginia even had newscast producers (morning producers and evening producers), news editors, and photojournalists made the move to news reporter roles and news anchor roles at CBS 19 News. The news director, Val Thompson has done this recently and in previous years (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013). I wish that he too is truly honest will all parties especially job seekers who genuinely want to be a television news reporter/MMJ, but have no intentions whatsoever of being a producer despite producing a college newscast and does not want a news producer/news management career, and simply wants to be a reporter. It is not fair to entry-level job seekers, college students, and college graduates to be deceived, lied to, tricked, conned, and cheated by news directors in all starter market stations. News directors in all starter market stations, help production assistants, newscast producers, entry-level job seekers, entry-level job candidates, college students, and college graduates be on-air news reporters/MMJs, especially if their undergraduate journalism school, undergraduate college or undergraduate university have very limiting options for students, and those who went to compile a reel with a third-party on-air demo reel company, such as Reel Media Group (This company is NOT a professional journalism organization. It is an ON-AIR DEMO REEL SERVICE!) and American Broadcast Talent A third-party on-air demo reel service company is NOT A PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM ORGANIZATION. IT is NEITHER SPJ, NPPA, IRE, AAJA, NOR NABJ. It is JUST a third-party on-air demo reel service company that simply wants $1,000 dollars to provide a demo reel that is not landing the vast majority of job seekers into an on-air television news reporter/MMJ job at a local starter small-market television station in the United States. Starter market stations and news directors, HELP US COLLEGE STUDENTS, COLLEGE GRADUATES, ENTRY-LEVEL JOB CANDIDATES, AND ENTRY-LEVEL JOB SEEKERS. WE NEED SERIOUS HELP!

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