• Step Right Up! Four Tips For Better Live Shots At The County Fair

    Summer is coming to an end. The news is slow and most of the reporters are out on vacation. Its also fair season, which is a good time for the news director to send the broadcast meteorologists out for live shots. You’re not in three feet of snow like you were eight months ago, so you are going to need something else to talk about. Live shots at state and county fairs can be fun and interesting, if you give them a chance.

    I’m by no means a master at them, but I’ve done them enough over the past thirteen years to know what works. If you’ve just started a new broadcast meteorology job over the past couple of months, this might even be your first live shot (get used to them). Here are a couple of ideas to make the most of your time at the fair:

    Prepare for the fair. There is a big difference between going to the fair for fun, and going to the fair for work. If you are in your work outfit, you are going to stick out and people are going to notice. That is kind of the point, but dress comfortably. A shirt and tie might be way too much for a hot sunny day. Ask your news director or other reporters what they would wear and you might be able to go a little more casual. The last thing you want to be is a hot, sweaty mess for your live shot. Believe me, I’ve been there.

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  • Four Skills That Will Help You Land a Broadcast Meteorology Job

    There are a lot of broadcast meteorologists out there. Its a cool job and a lot of people want it. There are also a limited number of jobs openings, especially if you are just out of college.  In order to stand out from the pack, you need an edge. You should have something in your bag of tricks that makes you a better candidate than the rest of the competition. Keep in mind, these skills don’t take the place of being a knowledgeable meteorologist who knows what to do at the green wall. Those things need to come standard. Here are a few bonus skills that will help get your resume to the top of the stack.

    Reporting, Shooting and Editing – This one is easily at the top of the list. Most entry level meteorologists start out as a weekend met/weekday reporter. Most meteorologists either don’t have a journalism program available at college, or are just too busy to take advantage of it. Those that do get some reporting skills have a big advantage right off the bat. You save the news director from having to train you on news gathering, and allow yourself to jump right in and be ready to go. You don’t necessarily need to get a journalism degree or minor, but knowing your way around a camera and edit deck are two excellent things to have on your resume.

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  • What’s Your Super Power?

    Everybody has something that we’re good at. Sometimes its something you are born with, but usually its something you develop on your own. Many times, what you are good at comes out of necessity, while other times you are just following something you obsessively love. Finding what you are good at can help you be a lot more successful and happy in your career. This is your super power.

    When I was in high school, I grew to a freakish 6 foot, 7 inches tall. I could have been another foot taller and I still wouldn’t been a good basketball player. Either I didn’t have the physical coordination for it, or I didn’t love the game enough to develop the skills I needed to be competitive. But I liked working with computers, and that ended up helping so much more in the career I’ve chosen to be in.

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  • Double Duty

    I think one of the big secrets about broadcast meteorology is that in your first local television job, you’ll likely be doing some reporting. You see, the bottom shift in the pecking order of TV news is the weekend gig. If you work either evenings or mornings on the weekend, you’re going to need to do something else during the week to make you full time. Some stations allow you to be a weather producer during the week and others just keep you part time, leaving it up to you how to pay the rent. The most common option is to do some reporting to help out the news department.

    This comes as a surprise to many mets because its something they rarely learn in college. Its hard enough to learn the meteorology, then master all the chroma-key and studio skills, so it makes it very difficult to get in any kind of time learning how to shoot, edit and report. You can see why picking the right school and getting the chance to learn those skills can be so crucial. You can probably imagine that having the choice better a met, and a met who can report, a News Director might be inclined to choose the one with the bigger bag of tricks.

    If you’ve just graduated, and never reported before, don’t freak just yet. Many News Directors are used to this problem and are usually prepared to train you on the job. No doubt, you’ll likely learn boatloads in your first weeks on the job. With the entry-level job market as crowded as it is, if you can get the chance to learn how to tell stories electronically, picking up that extra class or two would be a big boost to the resume.