Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gertson '03: TV news producer in SA, has advice

Daniel Gertson '03, who was a photographer for the Aggieland -- the cover photo for the 2003 Aggieland is his -- is now the executive producer for Fox News First (local morning news) at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio (KABB). I sought his advice for students seeking to get into broadcast media, and here's what he had to say:

I would highly encourage j-students to look into broadcasting. It's a very dynamic and exciting field. As with all journalism, you have to have a love for news (or sports, weather, entertainment, etc.) or you'll get burnt out pretty quickly. But when you find your niche, it can be very rewarding. As for getting started, the best thing to do is jump right in. Find a small(er) market -- I started at KBTX -- and take any job in the newsroom you can. If you want an on-air job, spend as much time as you can (sometimes it will have to be extra hours) with reporters and get practice writing and perfecting your delivery. Put together some packages and then apply for any open slot that comes up. It's hard to teach being good on TV -- experience is everything! I'll be honest -- I never worked in print, but in my experience, broadcast has always been fast paced and exciting. I can honestly say I've never had a moment where I looked up at the clock and thought, "I'm bored. I wish show time would just hurry up and get here!" Instead, I typically look at the clock and think, "That's all the time I have left?!"

Q: Is there a best way for students to look for broadcast openings? And is figuring out the markets pretty intuitive -- i.e. small town = small market?

I'd say the best way to find out about openings is to visit a station's website. There is TVJobs.com, but you have to pay to get an account and check the listings -- and the listings tend to be for positions that require experience. Yes, market size is pretty straightforward -- small town = small market. They are also listed on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_television_stations_in_North_America_by_media_market).