Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Old Newscasters Never Leave... They Just Go Corporate

If you work in television, leave, but stay in the market, people do remember you. I left broadcast TV in 2001 and it still happens, like at dinner the other night. The most common statements/questions I get (and my answers) are some forms of the following:

1. "We miss you on the news." To which I very genuinely reply, "thank you." It means a lot that people appreciated my work.

2. "Do you miss it?" Some days, sure. But the stories that are most important to me now are the ones I read to my kids before they go to bed. I miss doing features and producing/anchoring a show. I don't miss working nights, weekends and holidays, nor do I miss talking to people after they've experienced personal loss.

3. "Would I go back?" I’ll never say never, but the truth is, as much as I enjoyed working in television, it would be difficult. I now work at a Fortune 500 company that offers all I need to raise a family and more. And unless you’re a frontline anchor or in sales, the money isn't great. My first reporting job paid $400 a week. Plus, if you’re a frontliner, generally that means working till 11 PM. (Yes, I know money is better in bigger markets, but the cost of living is much higher too. I have the best of both worlds here and now.)

4. "Whatever happened to (so and so)?" If I know the answer, I will share it.

5. 'What is (so and so) like?" Like any business, there are genuinely nice people and there are others. I won’t lie, but I won’t say anything negative when asked this question.

Remember what MacArthur said about old soldiers? Old newscasters never leave... they just go corporate. From the people who've left local TV for marketing communications/public affairs positions at the two Fortune 500 companies in this market, you could have yourself one heck of a newsroom. You just couldn't afford it based on the budgets the three affiliate news directors get to work with.

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