Surviving Small Markets

They make it sound so easy. News Director Jam Sardar, reporter Maria Hechanova, both from WLNS in Lansing, MI, and AAJA VP of Broadcast George Kiriyama gave a very detailed and personal account of how to break into a small market, how to survive, and how to grow and expand afterwards.

How to Break into a Small Market

The panelists gave great tips on paperwork while applying but had one huge suggestion…networking, networking, networking. As important as it is to have a flawless resume, demo reel and cover letter, having a close relationship with someone who will fight on your behalf for a job opportunity is just as important. They encouraged everyone in the audience to take advantage of conventions like the AAJA and all the receptions. Hechanova shamelessly plugged the Asian American Student Broadcast Journalists and the Asian American Small Market Broadcast Journalists programs throughout the panel. Both groups offer advice, help and support to those entering into and surviving currently in small markets. Especially for those journalists who have to move thousands of miles away from home having a group going through the trials you are can feel very comforting.

How to Survive in a Small Market

From buying a 50 pound bag of rice to last you a two year contract to sleeping on an air mattress, it’s no secret that budgeting comes hand in hand  with a journalist’s first job. All the panelists gave hilarious tips on how to save money while working for peanuts. The issue they focused on is one I’m sure most new and eager journalists don’t think about until they’ve already left their home state: missing family and friends. Hechanova stressed the importance of knowing your time zones and mastering Skype. When things get tough…hang in there. Most likely if you’re in a small market you will have many colleagues around you who are in the same position and have the same feelings.

Transitioning Out of a Small Market

The majority of the panel still resided in smaller markets but had great tips for preparing for the transition to a new market. Since journalists will learn and incredible amount during their first few jobs, it’s not necessary to add everything you do to your reel for your next job hunt. It’s best to save your most recent or best work for the updated version of your demo reel. Another big point that was stressed was not to get market envy. Just because your friend Tim bounced up to market 80 doesn’t mean it’s your time. Move markets when it’s right for you and not all market moves are right for everyone. Try not to get down on yourself just because someone who was in your market has already moved up.

-Danielle Kreutter

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