Last week, the WCNC Charlotte staff hosted a series of eight online educational sessions discussing the different career paths in local television. These presentations featured jobs in digital journalism, reporting, news production, editing, sales, marketing and others.
Experts from various departments shared their experiences and answered questions about getting started in their respective careers. Each of the sessions lasted about an hour long. Here are the main takeaways you should know, in no particular order:
- Across all these career paths, nothing beats getting hands-on experience. Students who want to become journalists, reporters, or marketing consultants need to know how these jobs work by learning about them firsthand.
- One of the best decisions you can make right now is to pursue an internship and join the Niner Times or other departments in Student Niner Media. Get as much experience in news media, social media, photography or video editing as you can because it sets you apart from everyone else.
- Learn how to use editing and design programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut, Canva, etc. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials you can watch to practice and get comfortable with these programs. Being technically savvy is a very important skill.
- Consume news every day, whether it be local, national, or global news. Follow news stations on social media, download news apps, or listen to news podcasts to stay informed on current events. Study what you see or hear and try to imitate it.
- Be prepared to adapt to new technology and new roles. Jobs in local television are constantly evolving.
If you are interested in digital journalism, here are some tips from Blair Shiff, the Digital Director at WCNC:
- Learn how to write articles quickly yet accurately. You can practice by reading articles from the Associated Press and rewriting them into your own words.
- Diversify the news you consume to expand your language and vocabulary.
- Understand your audience and write like you are having a conversation.
- Your attitude is important for such a fast-paced and stressful job. Be eager to learn and grow.
If you are interested in being a reporter or multimedia journalist, here are some tips from anchor and reporter Bill McGinty and general assignment reporter Billie Jean Shaw::
- Know how to shoot, write and edit your own stories and videos well. The more you practice, the better you get at reporting.
- Connect with your community. Talk to a lot of people because that is how you find good stories. Use your voice to promote change, unity and inclusion.
- Keep your stories simple. You do not always have enough time to prepare to be on camera. Use only the data you need to tell one story. Be transparent about what you do not know.
- Be prepared to work outside of normal working hours. You have to be persistent to make a story work; travel time and interview schedules vary greatly.
If you are interested in working in sales, here are some tips from the Digital Sales Manager Lauren Beckerle and the National Sales Manager Rick Delcampo:
- Practice public speaking and presenting. Having good communication and social skills will set you up for success.
- Network with people in the industry. They can teach you a lot about how to do well as a marketing consultant. In order to work with more people, you will need to build their trust.
- Never go into a meeting unprepared. You want to present the best solution to potential clients. Give yourself enough time or ask for extra time to prepare instead of improvising.