The Producer Page: September 1997

IN THIS ISSUE...

  • Getting Canned
  • Newsroom Culture
  • Producers Ask For Advice
  • Producing Commandments
  • I Can't Believe He/She Said That On The Air!
  • Star Producer
  • Producers On The Move
  • Happenings
  • Job Openings
  • Hire Me
  • Signing off from Cincinnati

  • GETTING CANNED
    Advice to the Just-Fired Producer from last month's issue...

    In response to getting canned, the producer should talk to some of her former news directors.

    When ownerships, general managers, etc. change, or if the station isn't quite going in the right direction, it's the news director's head that is sacrificed. The GM, sales manager, marketing director, chief engineer, et al, all manage to hang on to their careers. We're the people out front, so we're the ones who get canned.

    I faced dismissal after 16 years of success. I was a good reporter and an Emmy award-winning producer. My news department won more awards for excellence in journalism than the other television news departments in the market combined.

    Bottom line, you have to realize that your termination may have nothing to do with your ability as a journalist, manager, or leader. Often, termination has everything to do with internal politics, corporate policy, jealousy, or egotistical executives who feel threatened at the thought of a strong lieutenant at the helm.

    The average life span of a news director is about 18 months. You realize that when you step into those shoes and you accept the risk.

    As a producer, you have to step outside your situation and look at the reasons you were fired. And I mean take a SERIOUS look at the reasons. Do you have a good idea where you fit in the food chain of the news department?

    Sometimes there is nothing you can do to stop the axe. However, there are times when people are fired for good reasons.

    Were you fired for performance issues? If so, take a hard look at those issues and make an honest attempt to address the concerns of management. Chances are you were warned several times for performance problems. How did you react?

    You have two choices. You can either buck the department heads -- or you can objectively look at the reasons for possible disciplinary action.

    If your first reaction is to say, "They don't know what they're talking about. I'm fine just the way I am, and I'll show them." Go ahead and pack up your desk. It's over. You will not win. In a battle of program direction, management wins. Period.

    For most managers, there's a good reason they acquired their position. If you take a look at their resume, chances are "they've been there and done that." They were promoted because they did their jobs better than those around them.

    Regardless of how you personally feel about your supervisors, listen to their concerns. This is not a personality contest. Deal with actions and performance, not personality. Exactly what is the performance issue? What steps can you take to correct what your supervisors see as a problem? Make a list and develop a specific plan of action. Make an effort to compromise. If you don't, and you let your ego get in the way, you'll be looking for that next career opportunity.

    Okay, despite your best efforts, it didn't work. You were fired. What next? First, you should be prepared. Keep an up-to-date resume ready at all times. You should always have a current resume at your fingertips. Keep the tapes of your good broadcasts on file. Yes, this will take extra effort on your part. You may have to come into the newsroom on a Sunday morning to dub the broadcasts -- but you will be thankful you took the time when you discover you need to send a tape to a potential employer.

    Don't be afraid to tell people you were dismissed. This is only television. People get fired daily. It's hardly a scarlet letter. However, don't go out of your way to broadcast the fact you were fired. Just face developments in your career with direct honesty. After all, you're a journalist. The core of your trade is objectivity and honesty. Believe me, that news director sitting across from you has faced the management firing squad once or twice.

    Network. Call your friends. Call former co-workers. First of all, they'll be a good vent for your frustrations and hurt feelings. And they'll probably have some good ideas for that next career step.

    Finally, get to work. Get busy! It can take about six to eight weeks to find a new job. Start looking for your next position the moment you leave your former employer. Don't get bogged down in the temptation to take a few days to roll around in self-pity. Use the Internet, check the trades, contact the agencies, call the job lines. As you know, producers are a hot commodity. There are plenty of producer jobs. You will be surprised at how much information is out there, and how quickly employers will be interested in you.

    Getting fired is not fun. It's a serious blow to your self-esteem. I know from personal experience. You will carry that pain with you -- always. Nothing is more of an eye-opener than standing in line at the unemployment office to apply for $200 a week in benefits.

    But don't let it destroy your career. Success is sweet vengeance. There are days now when I can't decide if I want to slap my former GM or send him a note of thanks.

    Good producers are hard to find. A little objectivity, patience, determination, and good timing will make all the difference in the world. There is life after the pink slip.

    Bob Jacobs bnjacobs@erols.com


    First of all, who hasn't? This is a volatile business, with a high turnover and burnout rate -- mainly because everyone in the newsroom is being asked to do more and more, with less and less. Hey, I used to produce an hour newscast in a top-30 market with one writer!

    The first thing to do when you get CANNED is assess what really went wrong and BE HONEST! Was it at least partly your fault? I find more people these days who can't accept the consequences of their actions -- it's always someone else's fault. Did you running late, slacking off a bit? Possibly you were burnt to a crisp. Were your shows/stories the best they could be? (see above) Did you follow policy and/or directions? You don't have to agree with it, just do it or move along. Was your attitude bad -- did you find yourself complaining to others, griping about management, policies? (see above) You'd be amazed at how quickly you can get a bad rep in the newsroom and upstairs.

    On the flip side, don't be too quick to crawl under a rock. Some things are simply out of your control. When the station gets new management, cuts back on resources or implements new policies, sometimes even the best performance and go-get-em attitude can't save you -- you were doomed. The trick is to see the writing on the wall before you're shown to the door.

    Now that you've looked in the mirror and formulated a clear picture of what happened, how do you handle the F-word with prospective employers? I've always tried to be honest without sharing every single gory detail... yet tried to put a positive spin on it. You can explain in simple terms what went wrong and what you've learned from it. Hey, you've made progress and who can fault you for that? Besides, interviewers can always call your old boss and get his/her side, so lying won't help, and will definitely hurt.

    I have never found that being fired ever kept me from getting another job in news. In fact, most employers respected my scars and my hard-won life experience. Remember, as Linda Ellerbee said, "You're nobody until you've been fired at least once in this business." The key is to get over it.

    Catherine Silverman President Silverman/Media Inc. e-mail: silvermedia@compuserve.com


    Alice:

    In response to the producer asking about how to survive getting canned.... This is a true story... back in the fall of 1990, I was laid off in a 3rd wave of cutbacks at WHP-TV in Harrisburg, PA. I was a producer at the time. I not only survived, but through a series of events (resignations) I became News Director at WHP-TV five weeks after my 'last' day on the job. I didn't stay long, and accepted a ND position at a Fox startup on the fringes of the Washington, DC market. The reason I mention that is because, once again, through the TV station bankruptcy, I was laid off yet again, not once, but twice. Speaking from personal experience, when you get let go, you have to just pick yourself up (after the crying binge, and the latenight phone calls to former colleagues looking for openings) and move on. Don't be afraid to take transition jobs outside TV while you're looking. And definitely, take advantage of the break. And remember, as long as you're not mired in debt, unemployment puts food on the table. Lucky for me, my brother had an unused frequent flyer ticket which got me to California for a freebie vacation with my other brother... The week-long break was invaluable to get my thoughts together about my future. I tried to be a contestant on game shows, though I didn't even pass the test!... During one layoff I even delivered phone books for Bell Atlantic! (The pay was LOUSY!) I wrote a free-lance article, served as a faculty advisor on a High School Journalism project, and eventually took a transition job outside TV with a radio-news related operation. If you love news, you'll eventually land on your feet in news where you want to be, but look for alternative routes on the career-path. No matter where you live, there's a newspaper in town. Ask the editor if he's looking for free-lance reporters. Or radio stations might need part-time or freelance help with news. It gets some money coming in and keeps your news mind busy and up-to-date on current events, etc. Hope this wasn't too much 'personal' experience stuff to offer, but I hope it could help. In regards to handling getting canned with prospective employers, be completely honest. If you were fired, tell them why, i.e. personality clash with news director/manager, or you made a stupid mistake that the company considered a firing offense. If it's a negative, any good news manager is going to find out anyway somehow. And if you try to cover up the firing, you're just damaging your reputation further. Jeff Hertrick, Senior Producer, Newschannel 8, Washington, DC. DC1752@aol.com


    My old news director and I will probably always disagree on whether I quit or was fired. In any event, after starting out as a consultant in 1979 I was astonished to learn just how many successful newsies have been fired at some point in their careers. This industry is rife with managers who insist on having their "own" team: a new GM comes in and wants the news director from his old station, a new ND comes in and wants to hire one of his old producers. Somebody has to go. Contrary to how it may feel after it's just happened, being fired does not permanently mark your career unless it becomes a pattern. Name Withheld


    First of all, welcome to the club! It is not an exclusive club, by any means. And you don't always have to earn your way in by being a total screw-up or lame-brain (if you don't believe that, think back to some of the people in your old newsroom who somehow still have a job there).

    Without knowing the exact circumstances surrounding your dismissal, the best piece of advice I can give you is to be honest during your job interviews. You're not looking to accentuate your negatives, but don't try to cover up the firing with some excuse that can be checked for its accuracy. And as I mentioned before, this isn't an exclusive club. Don't be surprised to learn that the person on the other side of the interview may have been on the receiving end of the ax once or twice themselves. If that's the case, they'll be more understanding of your situation than you night imagine.

    Finally, if this is a profession you want to remain in, don't lose confidence in your abilities and keep your chin up. I've been let go twice in 22 years of broadcasting and in both cases, I was able to find a new job within a month. It is possible to bounce back!

    Best of luck, Mike Green Producer, WEEK-TV Peoria, IL


    Alice,

    The first thing my troubled colleague should realize is that there is life after getting canned. I was fired once, and the first thing my sympathetic co-workers told me was that you haven't earned your stripes as a journalist until you are fired.

    As for dealing with interviews: what were the circumstances of the firing? Was there a new ND or other manager who wanted to make changes, or were there budget cuts and layoffs? Those are reasons that any manager will understand. It happens everywhere, all the time. There's no stigma attached to this type of firing.

    On the other hand, being fired for cause is tough. I was fired for making a mistake based on incorrect information. At the start of my job hunt, I was honest about what happened, because my coworkers and I felt the circumstances were pretty outrageous. Initially, that didn't seem to scare anyone off; one EP even asked me to come interview with him. But when I got to the station, he kept questioning me, and finally told me he didn't have a job for me. I wasn't getting very many other real bites. The up front approach wasn't helping me at all, so I began looking for another approach to answering the question of why I'd left my last job. I could honestly say that there was a new ND in my shop, and that he had decided to make some changes. That happens so frequently that it's generally not questioned. I could also honestly say that I had been looking for something new after spending a long time with no upward motion because no producers were leaving the station. That was obvious from my resume.

    It sounds underhanded, but I was following advice from a career counselor at the Employment Development Department. EDD is a great resource for job seekers, and it's free! I got tons of great advice on dealing with my situation. The most important advice: what I'd done was more important than why I'd left.

    Instead of focusing on how your employment ended, focus on what you accomplished. Hopefully you've always kept a good tape. When they fired you, were you able to get a severance agreement that allowed you to put together a new tape? (Sounds outrageous, but stations will agree to certain things to keep from being sued for wrongful termination.) Check with the human resources department to see what kind of a reference you'll get. It's generally illegal for them to say anything negative about you, especially regarding the circumstances of your leaving. You might even be able to ge a favorable letter. And if there were any managers who defended you, get them to be references. That's what I did. Having plenty of support and references from the lower-level managers of a station can mean a lot more than the fact that the ND canned you...after all, he may have been a real jerk.

    Don't bring up the fact that you were fired, in your interviews or your cover letters. You may never be asked about it. Volunteering the information could be trouble.

    After my hiring, I was interviewed and hired by a station that never asked me why I left my previous job. The job counselor was right; what I'd done and what I believed about news was more important than why I'd left. Name Withheld


    THE NEWSROOM CULTURE
    In response to last month's observation about newsroom culture....

    Firm and direct differences of opinion are a part of every newsroom. If you have a talented staff, you have a number of intelligent points of view, and those opinions will vary on a day-to-day basis.

    A newsroom is unlike any other business environment. The deadline pressures forces direct statements and blunt answers. There is little time to discuss breaking news situations politely in committee. At times it's going to be both rude and vulgar.

    There are a lot of things said "in the heat of the battle" that are not personal, nor are those statements intended to be insulting.

    HOWEVER -- Many of the people in control of a newsroom tend to believe that noise and vulgarity equate intelligence and strength. They feel if their message isn't being understood, the best way to clarify it is to say it over and over in a screech. If 15 or 20 people do that in a tense situation, it's easy to see that there can be a lot of squawking and little communication.

    When I was a young hot-shot producer trying to flex my management muscle, I made the same mistakes. But a terrific news director, who was also a competent educator, took me aside and gave me some useful information.

    During tense situations, people's voices should actually get lower. Loud barking from producers are not the sign of people in control of their broadcasts. In fact, it has just the opposite effect. Whether they realize it or not, producers are at the helm of their programs and people look to them for leadership. If anchors, reporters, engineers see a loud, obnoxious, cynic, bouncing off the walls of the news department before a broadcast, it hardly fills them with the feeling of confidence.

    This wise manager told me, "You don't get paid to stack and backtime a day-to-day newscast. I can teach college interns to do that." He added, "You are paid to handle your broadcast and the newsroom when the s*** hits the fan. You earn your money by showing calm and direct leadership in tense situations."

    The troops need to see a level-headed person in control when there's a hot debate.

    Bottom line. Yes, direct, honest, and an open exchange of ideas in a newsroom is very healthy. The staff is eager to accept praise, but they should also be ready to share ideas and the responsibility of helping direct editorial content. Debate is useful and often enlightening.

    But too often, it's the meanest and the loudest who get their way -- and it has nothing to do with the quality of their skills or the content of their character.

    The good news departments know how to turn up the volume without turning up the noise.

    Bob Jacobs bnjacobs@erols.com


    I have been out of the TV newsroom for awhile (I do VNRs now) but in my former newsroom it was always a three-way argument---reporters, assignment desk and producers with everyone trying to push their own agenda and sometimes everyone second guessing.

    Each of the three are looking at things in a very different way...and give and take can make for a stronger news product...but only if the criticisms don't get personal.

    Dan Johnson DWJ Television


    PRODUCERS ASK FOR ADVICE

    Dear Alice,

    I would like some advice from fellow producers. I'm an associate producer in Houston and am thinking about going back to school part-time to get my master's degree. My dream is to someday work for a national news program. So what degree would best help me achieve that goal? Computers? History? Economics? I'd appreciate any suggestions or thoughts on the subject.

    (Please respond with GRAD SCHOOL in the subject line to AJMain@aol.com for publication in next month's issue.)


    Alice, I am a news writer, field producer and VT editor. I have a year before I need to negotiate my next contract, but I'm wondering does someone with my skills need an agent? (Please respond with AGENT in the subject line to AJMain@aol.com for publication in next month's issue.)


    Dear Alice - First - I would like to thank you for all of the advice and helpful hints in your Producer Newsletter. I am a new Producer (almost 9 months now) and I really need the advice.

    I work in a small-market newsroom and I am the only full-time producer. As a result - I get very little one-on-one help/critiques/attention as a producer. I really need the feedback - so I can see if I am on the right track - but sometimes I feel like I am alone in my quest. I spoke to my ND about critiques and feedback - but have gotten little response....

    I produce the 6 and 10 o'clock shows during the week - with very little supervision - which is good and bad - . My station does not have lots of money to send me to Producer seminars.

    I know you are busy - I was wondering if you had any advice of words of encouragement for me. Maybe you could post my dimemma in the PN - without my name - so other producers who have the years of experience behind them could nudge me in the right direction...

    (Please send responses with FEEDBACK in the subject line to AJMain@aol.com for publication in next month's issue.)


    Alice,

    I have a question for the newsletter, which is selfishly motivated. I may be beating a dead horse, but what are news directors looking for when hiring producers?

    I admit this is selfishly motivated because I've been job hunting for awhile, and well, my phone just isn't ringing. I'm not getting any responses at all, most times, not even a form postcard from Human Resources.

    (Please respond with JOB HUNT in the subject line to AJMain@aol.com for publication in next month's issue.)


    THE PRODUCING COMMANDMENTS
    compiled by Ted Wilson, Sr Producer, WKRC-TV Cincinnati

    Riddle me this: What do you get if you have three producers and give them identical people and elements to work with; stories, video, interviews, reporters, photographers, etc. Answer: three different looking newscasts.

    People in TV news can debate endlessly what makes the best newscast. It all depends on your "news philosophy". Do you get the to live shot as soon as possible, do you build elements for the anchor lead-in, which angle do you take on a story, and so forth.

    The "Producing Commandments" are not meant to answer those questions. And, it is not meant to be a journalistic code of ethics, although that is certainly part of it. Producing is a craft and an art that has its own unique demands. Regardless of what a stationís "news philosophy" is, there are things we all need to do to make the best possible newscast, regardless of how we envision it.

    The list covers a lot of subjects. Some of them are technical. Some are practical. Some are about principals. Some are about leadership. A producer without anchors, reporters, photographers, editors and assignment editors is pretty useless.

    The list is far from all-inclusive. No special significance should be read into order of items. Breaking anyone of them can be a miserable experience. I have no doubt everyone who reads this will see a few things they think should have been included, even though there are a lot more than just the classic "10" commandments listed.

    The List is just a starting point for good producing. It is a unique job. We are expected to be calm and creative under tight deadlines. We are expected to make decisions without knowing all the facts. We are expected to be tough minded and at the same time make the newscast a collaborative effort. But all those things are part of what makes the job rewarding.

    I want to thank everyone who contributed to the list. You will see their names next to the "thou shall" and "thou shall nots." In a few cases, I have left names out because more than one person contributed the idea.

    The Commandments List

    • Thou Shalt tell the truth, from all sides of a story.
    • Thou Shalt use thine creativity, curiosity and intellect to make the most interesting and informative newscast possible.
    • Thou Shalt always be thinking of thine viewers.
    • Thou Shalt win the lead.
    • Thou Shalt never assume anything. ( Deb Del Valle)
    • Thou Shalt make thine anchor/s look good.
    • Thou Shalt not holler in the anchor's ear.
    • Thou Shalt write correctly, clearly, and with originality.
    • Thou Shalt Not raise questions thou dost not answer -- or at Least acknowledge. (Scott Libin, Poynter Institute for Media Studies)
    • Thou Shalt bring at least one original story idea to work every day.
    • Thou Shalt borrow from the Boy Scouts and "Be Prepared." (Scott Libin,)
    • Thou Shalt have a backup plan and a backup plan to the backup plan. (Deb Del Valle)
    • Thou Shalt know thine own backup plan as thou knowest thyself.
    • Thou Shalt make sure everyone knows the backup plan and how to make it work.
    • hou Shalt treat everyone in the newsroom with respect. (Deb Del Valle)
    • Thou Shalt praise even the smallest achievements by thine co-workers.
    • Thou Shalt make sure stories fulfill the promise made in a tease or promo.
    • Thou Shalt Not drop stories that have been teased or promoted for this doth make viewers very angry.
    • Thou Shalt use correct spelling in all chyrons.
    • Thou Shalt always call any phone number you give on TV and make sure it works and is correct. ( Deb Stanley, KMGH-TV, Denver)
    • Thou Shalt make sure live shots are really ready before putting them on the air.
    • Thou Shalt liberally dose with skepticism disease of the week cure stories. (Stephen Knifton)
    • Thou Shalt laugh at at least one joke every day.


    STAR PRODUCER: FORREST RESPESS
    By Elliott Lewis, Reporter WCPX-TV Orlando, Florida

    It's 10 minutes before airtime. Scripts are flying. People are screaming. Phones are ringing. A veteran newsman reaches across the producer pod to answer the call. He picks up the receiver.

    "Newsroom. Respess!" he says cheerfully.

    At age 70, Forrest Respess is surely one of the oldest newscast producers working in the industry today. "I don't think there are too many of us," he says with pride.

    "Frosty," as he is known, works in the newsroom of WCPX-TV in Orlando, Florida. He produces a ten o'clock newscast which the CBS affiliate broadcasts on a local UHF station, WKCF.

    "I'm not a retiring person," says Frosty. Apparently not. He took the job in 1994 after "retiring" from WGN-TV in Chicago where he worked for 23 years. "I think just working in a newsroom environment keeps the juices flowing, mentally," he says. "It keeps you on your toes."

    Frosty's television debut took place in 1947 when he helped to produce a live, dramatic show which was broadcast over a low power, experimental television station in Cincinnati, Ohio. The station's call letters: W-8-X-C-T. Frosty was a student at the University of Cincinnati at the time. One of his classmates who worked on that production was Earl Hamner Jr., who later created The Waltons television series. Frosty graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Radio Education, although at one time he wanted to pursue a career in theater as a stage manager.

    "My father wasn't about to contribute a penny to do anything in show biz, " says Frosty. "But he said, 'If it were something that had a future like radio, I might consider it.'"

    After graduation, Frosty worked in radio for about six years before moving into television. He started as an assistant director for WTTV in Indianapolis, Indiana, then eventually moved to WMBD-TV in Peoria, Illinois where he was both a director and an on-air reporter. The film they shot had to be "processed" before it could be edited, which sometimes took 25 minutes. "They'd just converted to color film," says Frosty. "That took longer than black and white."

    The stories for the entire newscast were then spliced together on two "film chains," one for A-roll, the other for B-roll, with a few seconds of leader in between each story. The rundown was pretty much set in stone. "There was none of this business of flip-flopping stories," says Frosty. "That was it!" But back then, few stations even had producers. Usually that responsibility fell on the anchors or directors.

    Frosty was preparing to direct WMBD's midday news in November 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated. "We had a feature called Window on the Weather." Frosty says while he and the rest of the crew were setting up for the live shot, someone from the newsroom told them the President had been shot. "I turned to the weather guy and said, I don't think we're going to need you."

    WMBD received its network news feeds through landlines. "There were no domestic satellites," says Frosty. And without videotape, the station recorded the feed by setting up a camera in front of a monitor and filming the stories as they came in.

    Frosty's first producing job in television came in 1969 at KMOX-TV in St. Louis, then a CBS owned and operated station. But he lost his job there in 1971, one of 750 CBS employees laid off after cigarette advertisements were banned from television, resulting in a loss of ad revenue. At the same time, the country had entered a recession.

    He landed on his feet at WGN in Chicago where he would spend the next 23 years, eventually becoming producer of the station's noon news. He held that job for a decade, until a new news director stripped him of the title and made him a newswriter. Soon after that, Frosty and his wife of 40 years decided to move to Florida.

    By that time, Frosty had become an expert on NewStar, a popular newsroom computer system. He'd been the NewStar system manager at WGN and offered his services to WCPX, another NewStar station. But he ended up back in the producer's chair instead.

    As for television journalists today, Frosty says they need to know "a little more history, learn how to spell, and take a pre-law course to have an understanding of the court system."

    Despite the industry's shortcomings, Frosty genuinely likes his job. "You become frustrated with the routine stories... the shootings, the house fires. But you never know when something is going to happen."

    In fact, Frosty seems to enjoy the surprises, even after 50 years in the business. "I work better under pressure," he says.


    I CAN'T BELIEVE HE/SHE SAID THAT ON THE AIR!

    A reporter was wrapping up a live shot about a gas leak that injured 2 people, and she apparently didn't know how to toss it back. She said "That's it from here, thank you, buh-bye."

    And from the "some people are in the wrong business" file, our 5 o'clock producer was getting flustered over a series of breaking news stories. It was 2 hours till airtime, and he said "Boy, if this keeps up, I'll have to start dropping stories!"


    PRODUCERS ON THE MOVE

    ALAN HOBBS is leaving the beach for the beach. After only four weeks away from WJTV's hallowed (i think that was the color) halls, I'm headed to Virginia Beach (more specifically, WVEC-TV 13, the A.H. Belo station in Norfolk. I'll be producing the 11p news there, beginning August 18. <lameisrob@hotmail.com> --- At WTSP-TV, Tampa/St Petersburg: GEOFF LARKIN to Dayside Executive Producer, from Producer, 5:00pm News. JEFF ZELLER to Producer, 5:00pm News, from Senior Morning Producer. LIISA HYVARINEN to Executive Producer, Special Projects, from Special Projects Producer. --- ALICE MAIN from executive producer, WKRC-Cincinnati, to executive producer, WLS-Chicago.


    HAPPENINGS

    Producers too! Join us September 13-14, the weekend prior to RTNDA97. Working television, radio and newspaper journalists are invited to register for the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation workshop "Follow the Money: Covering Campaign Finance." The Saturday and Sunday session will highlight the most effective ways of reporting money's influence on politics. Confirmed speakers include Eric Engberg, CBS News and Gwen Ifill, NBC News, among other experts from the field.

    A $50 registration fee ($40 for RTNDA members) INCLUDES all workshop materials, meals and lodging for one night at the Windsor Court Hotel. (All this for $50...not a typo!) REGISTRATION IS LIMITED, and on a first sign-up basis. A registration form is available on the RTNDF homepage under the "What's New" and "Political Coverage Project" sections <http://www.rtndf.org> For more information contact Kathleen Graham, RTNDF, (202) 467-5216, <kathyg@rtndf.org>. --- HELP! Last year's national collegiate winner for Best Television Newscast will have a hard time repeating this year. Colorado State Univeristy's Campus Television (CTV) facility was demolished in a flash flood July 28th. A studio, four editing stations, field cameras and all other equipment was destroyed. Approximately 100 students normally work at CTV to produce five 30-minute programs per week. During the 1996-97 school year CTV's newscast won first place for newscast from the National Association of College Broadcasters, along with numerous other awards including four regional Emmys, Best In Television from the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Media Association and Best Newscast in the region from the Society of Professional Journalists. In addition to Campus Television destruction, the Student Media Department's Rocky Mountain Collegian (daily newspaper), KCSU-FM and the Silver Spruce yearbook were flushed with torrential muddy waters that ran up to eight feet deep. Now the department is starting from scratch to reconstruct its operations in a temporary facility. Inquiries concerning donations and assistance should be directed to Larry Steward, Student Media General Manager, (970) 491-1781 (lsteward @ vines.colostate.edu); or Greg Luft, Faculty Advisor, (970) 491-1979. (gluft@lamar.colostate.edu).


    NEW MAILING LIST

    There's a new listserv for producers, reporters, others to exchange story ideas and challenges. It's called TVTalk, and its main goal is to trade ideas.

    To get involved...

    To Subscribe send e-mail to: majordomo@indra.com

    Put the command in the body of the mail message (not on the "Subject:" header component).

    SUBSCRIBE TVTALK

    You will get an e-mail response from the server confirming that you are subscribed to the list.

    Thanks, Ed Lozano newstoed@aol.com or newsidea@indra.com


    HIRE ME

    Producer, 3 years experience, currently handling 11pm newscast, would like to take on new challenge. Looking for top 60 affiliate, preferably on East Coast. I like to write and craft a newscast that moves. News is not a 9 to 5 job; show me an opportunity, and i'll make it happen. I'm looking to join a team that wants to win and make every show the one that the viewer will remember. Contact hpeltz@hotmail.com. ---- My name is Julie Ehrhart, and I am a frustrated broadcast journalism graduate

    who is anxious to break into the world of mass media. I am looking for a sports or general assignment reporter position in the Columbus, Ohio area, but am willing to consider producing, directing, writing, or editing in either TV or

    radio. As an intern, I worked in the male-dominated field of sports, where I

    loved proving that an attractive female could keep score as well as the guys. I am not opposed to relocating (even to Guam if necessary), and I would welcome

    any position even remotely related to communications. If you're ready to add my spark to your station, email me at: dasutton@sprynet.com. Videotape and resume upon request.


    SIGNING OFF FROM CINCINNATI

    I'm sitting in my basement, about 10 minutes away from disconnecting the computer and loading it into the back of the Honda. It's six hours from here to downtown Chicago, where I'm living temporarily. I've been home for the Labor Day weekend. It's a break from the scary home-buying business now in progress in Chicago. Thomas calls it "Cah-go." He's three, and this morning, he's asking if he can go to Cah-go with me. He can't yet. He'll stay here with his brother William and their dad until we close on our house in Glen Ellyn. (Thanks to the dozens of you who sent me advice on where to live! It really helped.) After a few more days of house-buying, mortgage-getting, wallet-wringing business, I'll start work Friday at WLS-TV. Four and a half years ago, I brought a six-pack of tiny Tabasco bottles from New Orleans to the news director at WKRC in Cincinnati. It was an attempt at bribery to get the job I wanted. It worked. I've learned many things here.

    -The viewer always comes first. -Anchors are people, too. Better-paid, yes, but people all the same. -It feels good to win. -Cincinnati is not really "The North," even though it's 900 miles north of New Orleans. -There are 101 United Dairy Farmers stores in Greater Cincinnati. -Just because Cincinnatians are proud of their chili, doesn't mean I have to like it. -Marge Schott is always the lead, no matter what.

    Now, I'm off to Cah-go to make a new list. I'm thinking Michael Jordan will be on it somewhere.

    -Alice


    THE PRODUCER NEWSLETTER is my hobby, and has been for the past two years. It's all free, and depends on fun, insightful contributions from you, the readers. You can get it by email, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.scripps.ohiou.edu/producer. To subscribe, send me a nice, chatty note to AJMain@aol.com, with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

    Which brings me to another, related matter. I don't know about the rest of you, but on any given day I can get anywhere from five to twenty-five junk email messages. I hate them! I delete them on sight! That's why it's important to get my attention properly in the subject line, or else I might never read your note.

    Alice