Blog: So you want to be a television reporter…
I’ll admit it. I have a pretty cool job. I get to be on TV, like, every single day. I get to tell cool stories, meet famous people and tell jokes that make a whole city laugh. When I walk around town, chances are a couple people I’ve never met before will recognize me. It’s fun. Every day is different. I don’t sit behind a desk in an office. My desk is the live van, my office the entire viewing area. I get to be a part of big events: a front row seat at the President’s visit; on the front lines after a tornado hits; front and center at every crime scene and ribbon cutting. How cool is that?
Everywhere I go, people say, “Matt, I want to be a reporter like you. How do I do it?”
Up until now, I’ve kept my recipe for journalistic success a closely guarded secret lest some young up-and-comer try to use my formula to steal my job. But after much pressure from our adoring Fox 4 fans, I have decided to help all of you who hope to one day rule the airwaves. Heretofore is what you MUST do as part of your training to become a successful television reporter.
1) Set your alarm for 2am. Every day.
Wake up, sunshine! It’s time to shower, shave and put on that shirt and tie! While your peers are just getting home from the bars, you’re waking up for a fun day of reporting the news!
2) Put a pair of jeans, umbrella, rain coat, rain boots, snow boots, heavy coat, gloves, hat, scarf, station polo and ruler (to use if it snows) in the back of your car.
You never know when the weather will change…or what story the bosses might give you that day. You don’t want to be wading in floodwaters in your $200 pair of Gucci dress shoes.
3) Buy makeup. Put it on. Wear it all day.
You’re gonna love the shine of melted base on your face when it’s 100-degrees outside! And the makeup sweat on your collar? Good luck getting that out!
4) Put on your shirt and tie (or dress), get on the treadmill, and sprint for one minute intervals.
This is what you’ll be doing if you knock on a door for an interview and either a) a pit bull or b) a man with a gun comes out the front door.
5) Knock on a stranger’s door and ask them about their deepest, darkest secret.
It’ll prepare you for all the doors that get slammed on your face from those who DON’T want to be on TV.
6) Write a story about that stranger’s deepest, darkest secret. Call their relatives and police to confirm all the details. Oh, and keep your story under a minute.
By the way, you’re live in front of their house at 5pm. Remember: the news comes on at the same time every single day and you WILL be live, so make sure you finish your story in time! You don’t want to be standing with a dumb look on your face and nothing to say.
7) Visit a courtroom.
This is where you will be sitting if you get the facts of your story wrong. Make sure you don’t accuse someone of doing something they never did without attribution.
8) Stand in front of a friend and tell them your story in under a minute. Do it out in public.
When you go live, it’s just you, the camera, the photographer…and whoever else decides to walk in your shot.
9) Have your friend criticize your clothes, your voice, your hair, your story and anything else they can think of.
You gotta have thick skin in this business. You’re on TV for all to see! And in this age of the internet, if someone doesn’t like you or what you said, EVERYONE will know about it.
10) Ask strangers to interrupt you when you’re at dinner with your family.
Get used to it. You’re famous now!
So there you go. These secret training techniques will prepare you for a career in television broadcasting. Good luck! Oh, and remember the number one rule: If you want the whole world to know who you are, just make sure you cuss your first time on air!