Monday, April 12, 2010

What's Love Got To Do With It?


One of the reporters I work with has a ring inscribed with the phrase, “Do what you love, love what you do.” In my eyes, this is the cornerstone of being successful. I find when I act with love and put that love into what I do, it shows.

On my February 24 reporting shift, I got that tingly “love” feeling quite a few times.

One of my favorite parts of a reporting shift is when you get in the car to go to your first destination. When I reached that point in this shift, I felt like the things I could see and the information I could find would help people and make them more knowledgeable. Knowing I can share something interesting/cool/helpful with others is something I love.

Then, when I was in the car on the way back, I got that feeling again! Just knowing you are on the brink of writing what could be your next great package/on-set/VoSot…what an exciting feelings.

But reporting isn’t always “rainbows and sunshine.” There are often those shifts that every reporter dreads where no one wants to talk to you and nothing seems to go your way. It’s a lot harder to feel the love for what you do in those moments. But, those are the times when it’s most important. Sometime on those shifts I really have to dig deep for that love…and when I find it, it helps me keep going and remember why I do what I do—why I do things that my friends and classmates think are crazy, or weird, or just plain stupid.

Do I love soybeans, suspected arson, propane, vandalism, or the Toyota recall? No. But I do love sharing captivating information about pertinent and influential topics with my viewers. I love letting them in on the things that I’ve found out and the people I’ve met during my shift. I love being able to show them the things I’ve seen through the lense of my camera and transporting them to wherever I’ve gone that day.

During this February 24 shift, Brian Bracco from Hearst Television came to visit KOMU. He ladeled praise upon the station as well at the MU Journalism School. Bracco said he knows we are very hireable and he can easily recommend us to his stations because when we “go out there” we are ready. This just struck me. I had a moment where I remembered the love. This is why I do this. I am ready. I already have a head start at the work I want to do for a living, when I am a “grown-up.”

My education at the MU J-School and my work at KOMU are a totally unique experience and one that I truly love. The feeling I got on that shift right before the show started when I was on set, just waiting…it’s a feeling I could never replicate and can barely describe. And when I can share something I love with the viewers, I feel truly satisfied.

Confucius said “if you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.” Now, maybe that is a little bit of an exaggeration but, the way I see it, I have definitely found that path in my work as a reporter and anchor. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Do As I Say...

I’m like many broadcast journalism nerds—my love is broadcast.

I get butterflies before my package comes on, or before I’m on camera.
A great feature will really touch me.
A perfect shot or well-written package can take my breath away.

And consequently, my first love (broadcast), doesn’t leave much time for my love life. But at the same time, broadcast has taught me lessons and given me skills that can help me get through any date.

How broadcast journalism has made me a better dater:
  1. People respond really well to their name. Most people love hearing someone else say it.
  2. Most people like to talk. Almost everyone believes they have something important to say. Let them say it!
  3. On a similar note, people like to feel important. They like being seen as the expert. Let them be the expert.
  4. A good listener is invaluable. Everyone likes to know they are being heard. It makes them feel like you actually care.
  5. People are weird about money. Bringing it it up makes pretty much everyone a little uncomfortable. 
  6. A lot of people respond well to physical touch (it is my language of love).  I read a statistic once that said waiters/waitresses who touch their patrons get larger tips than those who don't. Physical touch can really heighten your sense of connection with others. This works especially well in tragic situations.
  7. Most people aren't comfortable in front of cameras (be they video or still). Many people are downright uncomfortable.
  8. A smile can get you a long way. It makes even the sternest person in the world more approachable.
  9. Compliments are a great conversation starter. They make people feel special.
  10. A little kindness goes a long way. Everyone appreciates some kindness, and it is especially touching coming from someone they don't know very well.
  11. Apologies are important. Be humble, but...
  12. ...don't apologize too much. If you go around saying sorry all the time and apologizing before anything has happened, people will learn to be annoyed by you and, therefore, expect an apology. 
  13. Good manners are key. Hold the door open. Say please. Say thank you. People are more willing to give you their time and their thoughts if you treat them respectfully, and the easiest way to do so is by simply using good manners.
  14. Everyone has a story to tell.
And the way I see it...
    15. When worse comes to worse, you can always talk about the weather.