Sunday, April 24, 2005

Ability And Marketability

Shannon suggests that some readers/posters aren't fully grasping the ability and marketability concept, so I thought I'd post a little more.

Ability: you need to get the facts straight and the story done quickly. Can you take a difficult topic and make it easy to understand in a short period of time. I myself am a fan of the well told story, but in my travels I've seen, that's not always required. Four or five bites strung together with track and no personalization or beginning/middle/end... to fill 1:30 will suffice. Sad, but true... which is why I talk about a combination of ability and marketability.

Marketability: I'm gonna guess part of what you read next might offend some, but I don't make the rules... just observing. My definition here revolves around "looks" and "it" both of which I have blogged about before. All things being equal, the reporter/anchor that looks like a supermodel will get more offers than the reporter/anchor that doesn't. Yes, journalism should be the most important issue here, but it isn't. Again, not my rules.

The other issue with looks has to do with ethnic background. Whether they'll admit it or not, there are stations in larger markets that will lose, for example, "x" minority and will often look to fill that slot with that same, "x" minority. Do the math. There isn't a huge number of "x" minorities out there so if you're one and you apply for that job, you're immediately competing with fewer candidates for that job.

With all this in mind, when you get a new job, you'll still have to produce.

But what am I saying? In many (not all) instances a decent looking, decent live, but great journalist is less in demand than a supermodel (or specifically sought minority) looking, break through the camera type, but average (or heck, sometimes below average) journalist. If the latter is a good to great on the jouralism end, the sky is the limit.

Does this mean no one can get another job if they don't fall into the category I describe? Absolutely not. But when looking to leave, doors will generally open faster for those who fit the profile.