I tend to get a lot of emails, and a lot of questions on a daily basis from people who are interested in getting into broadcast journalism — so I would like to offer you some basic tips to help you get started.
Today — let’s talk resume demos. Regardless of whether you are interested in work behind the scenes, or in front of the camera, you will need a resume demo to get a broadcast employer’s attention. It is a “must-have” — and I strongly advise that you take the process of building your demo with the greatest of care. Here are a few pointers:
College Tape vs. Tape from an Internship at a local news station
If you attend an institution with an up-to-date broadcast facility, good equipment, and slick graphics — like my “Texas Newswatch” at my alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin, or the stellar Arizona State University broadcast journalism program — your tape may stand strong if compared to the product you could develop at a local affiliate.
In most other cases, however, the video/graphics quality of resume demos tends to be better when produced at a local news shop. Your goal is to look as professional as possible in your first demo reel. If your tape looks amateur compared to the next applicant, hiring managers will notice the difference.
If you have anchoring, put it on the demo. Mix it up with your best liveshots, and your best reporting. Showcase ONLY your best work, and make sure the pace does not drag. Remember — the first 10 to 15 seconds of your demo will determine whether a hiring manager looks at the rest of your reel, or decides to move on. Make sure to put your best material right off the top.