Friday, September 03, 2010

21st Century TV Job Searching

I thought I had moved for the last time but I may get on the merry-go-round again.

Freelance work has dwindled to where the emphasis is on free and I have begun looking for work in earnest, even considering jobs outside of the Tampa area. I like living here and I like freelancing here but work here has evaporated.

Several of the outlets for which I have done regular work have gone belly up and I have not found new ones to replace them. I haven't given up on my video biography business but it has not produced a reliable income.

Fortunately, threat of destitution is far off but I'd rather avoid making it a contest.

I also thought I had left television news behind as a full-time occupation. When I moved to Florida in late 2004, it was more important to choose where I lived than what I did for a living. That was easier when there were more available options for work.

While I have long embraced the new media -- I built my first web site in 1997 and encoded my first online video the next year -- that have become the buzzwords of traditional news outlets, TV news as a business is getting younger and cheaper. I am not and I wonder if there is still a market for someone with my skills and experience (read: age).

Maybe. Instead of mailing videotapes, many job ads now ask for online links to examples of your work, such as those on the video page at This not only saves money and time, my web site's stat counter eliminates the mystery of whether anyone sees my work.

It can also compress the time someone will respond. It used to be that you'd send a tape First Class. That would take 2-4 days. The the tape would become part of "the stack" that you hoped a station's news director would find time to watch. If you ever heard anything, it could take weeks.

Now a news director can open an e-mail on his BlackBerry, click on a link, watch your work and call you that day. I know this because twice now news directors have called me within hours of my sending an e-mail to them. I was not prepared for that and I hope I didn't blow my chances at what sounded like decent opportunities stumbling through my shock.

Another news director asked to see more of my news anchoring. I dug a newscast excerpt out of my computer, encoded and uploaded it to my site, created a page for it and sent him the link. I offered to mail a DVD if he prefers.

Here's what he'll see:

Yes, that newscast is five years old. There are clips of my traffic reporting from as recently as June so anyone can see that I still have some hair and can still perform on camera.

If you know anyone who needs a standout storyteller who has reported and anchored every kind of story from hard news to fluffy features, sports and even traffic, please point them to me.

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