Job: Reporter/Anchor at WXOW News 19
Location: La Crosse, Wisconsin
Mike B. and I were connected through another Mike J. that I interviewed earlier this year. Similar to our other friend Mike, Mike B. expresses his struggles and triumphs in the broadcasting world, which gives us a glimpse into the world of media. I really resonated with Mike B. when he shared his views on being in a job you're not happy with: If you're wasting your time in a job you don't like, find a job that makes life exciting and fun. I can stand behind that!
What does your day-to-day look like?
During the week while I am reporting, I will put together a couple of different stories. I call myself a Swiss Army Knife because I can do a multitude of stories and don’t really have a specialty. But generally, they’re local community stories and can be good news or hard news. I usually anchor on Saturdays for the 6:00 and 10:00 news but sometimes fill in for our lead anchors here and there. The days I am anchoring consist of putting together newscasts, editing, writing, producing, etc. to make sure our show is successful. It’s not easy, but you make it work.
Where do you see yourself going next in the news industry?
In the news industry, you want to keep moving up. Right now I’m in market 130 and at this stage, it depends on who your connections are, who you know, and who responds. Generally, you want to make it to 90 or lower, so between 90 and 40 is ideal. There are ways you can make bigger jumps, but it just depends on what the market is looking like, and, obviously, with COVID-19, that changes everything.
Can you talk about COVID-19 and how that’s affected your current day-to-day operations?
I work from home which changes everything. It has its ups and downs but I definitely have to be more conscious when I am out in the field, especially when it comes to wearing masks and having hand sanitizer. I try to be a good role model for people because they watch me every night. I think a lot of people in the field aren’t used to the changes in daily operations because we usually meet every day and are talking to each other face-to-face.
What has been the biggest hardship for you in the last several years since you’ve been out of school and in the workplace?
I would say the biggest hardship in the field is that it takes us to very remote locations and I am always working odd hours. The changes in timezones can be very challenging as well. Honestly, I don’t get to see a lot my good friends and family outside of text messages and Zoom calls. However, a lot of people that get into this business understand that’s going to happen. You’re not usually working for your hometown, so you start small and work your way up.
Is it difficult to have a social life with this schedule?
It’s challenging because if I work on a Friday night, the news comes on at 10pm and by the time I am done it’s 11. Then I have to get up the next morning to do it again. Usually, I have to take a day off to go anywhere or see anybody and our vacation time is precious, so it’s definitely a challenge. This is also a time in your life when you need to learn how to grow on your own and develop some passions and hobbies. I’m a big believer in the fact that you can have a passion for one thing, but you should always be trying to expand your knowledge and understanding in other areas as well because you never know where that could lead you.
What is some advice you would share with someone who’s interested in getting in the news field?
If this is something you’re truly passionate about and you have worked at a college TV station or radio station, or had an internship where you built up an understanding of how the business works, be ready for new and different experiences that you’ve probably never had before. For example, having to move and live in a new and completely different small town. You have to be ready to learn how to do different tasks that might take you out of your comfort zone but are going to help you grow. Pour yourself into the community you move to and that will make you a better journalist and reporter. In our field, we have to be the eyes and ears of the community and try to understand all of the different social dynamics and cues that may be different from the areas we we used to live.
What drives you?
What drives me the most is having a lust for life. You have to figure out ways to make life exciting and fun. I started in marketing and sales for a sports marketing company and then got promoted out of DC, but I realized I didn’t like doing it at all. I would encourage you to never waste your time on things that you don’t like.
YoPro Know's Takeaways:
- Always try to expand your knowledge and understanding in areas in your field even if it is not an area within your specialty.
- Be prepared to be pushed outside your comfort zone when starting a job.
- Don't waste time in a job you don't like; find a job that makes life exciting and fun.
Check it out: WXOW News 19