Ingrid Allstaedt, Anchor/Reporter for WLOS News 13
If you don’t bend, you’ll break. I’ve heard this several times throughout my career. And boy is it true! The world of television news is always changing, and you have to change with it or you’ll be left behind.
I am not quite five years into my career. So far I’ve held the following positions: weekend weather anchor and show editor, one-man-band bureau reporter, weekend morning anchor and fill-in weather and evening anchor. It’s important in this career to make yourself valuable. There are plenty of people who want to be on television, so what makes you special? As you can see from my job titles, I’ve been willing to do whatever is needed in the newsroom. Be a team player! If you don’t bend, you’ll break.
It’s a glamorous job, sometimes. As a reporter, I take eight hours of work and boil it down to a minute and a half story. On television, I will have my hair sprayed just right and my nose powdered… but the rest of the day is a mad dash to get a story in by deadline. A deadline is always hanging over a reporter’s head. Honestly, it’s kind of a weird thrill. No, I might not get a lunch break and will have no choice but to hold my pee for three hours… but a deadline makes my job exciting. Some days I am chasing breaking news, while other times I am telling an inspiring story of survival. This job is different every day, and I like it that way. If you don’t bend, you’ll break.
Yes it’s kind of sad, but true. Most of my friends don’t watch the morning or evening news while it’s airing live… heck; a lot of them don’t even own televisions. Don’t get me wrong, they’re supportive! But, they watch my news clips on their Apple TV’s, DVR’s, IPads and smartphones. When was the last time you made sure to get home by 5pm to watch the news? Stories “break” on social media, not television. Stations are now hiring digital content managers and requiring reporters to use Twitter and Facebook daily. I say this to show that the future of television is uncertain, so be ready to bend. If you don’t bend, you’ll break.
Now here are a few final words for you eager journalists
- Prepare now. Don’t memorize what your professor is saying, understand it. What’s the point of an “A” if you forget the material and can’t apply it in the “real” world?
- Join clubs and attend community and campus events. Anything to put on your resume is a plus!
- Score an internship. This is so very important. I interned at WLOS, while attending UNCA. WLOS later hired me as an associate producer and then later as a reporter.
- Network! This can be through email, Facebook, LinkedIn or lunch dates. I got all of my past jobs and current job because I knew someone or a friend placed a call on my behalf.
- Be nice to people. You never know when you might need their help.
And despite trying to avoid cliché’s in my daily news stories… I’ll end this post with these words:
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
P.S. I love my job!
Facebook: Ingrid Allstaedt WLOS-TV