What is it like working in TV News?

By Mark Macias

Throughout my TV career with NBC and CBS, publicists used to ask me in private: why don’t producers and reporters ever respond to my emails or phone calls?

Journalists, producers, reporters and writers get a ton of unsolicited emails every day. I’m sure you know that. Let me tell you something you don’t know.

This morning, I texted a long-time colleague from CBS and asked her about a TV segment she had already shot on my client. The story is shot, so the hardest and most difficult work is essentially done. I had texted her earlier in the week, and got no response.

Had I been your typical publicist, I would probably would have assumed she didn’t care. But I know this reporter well. I know she likes the story and she’s also a personal friend.

This morning, she responded.

“I’m so sorry. I’m juggling so much.”

What is the life of TV Reporters like?

And that is your media insight for the day. You think you juggle a lot of activities and responsibilities throughout the day? So do TV reporters. If they’re working Moms with younger kids and they are on the morning show, their hours are not enviable. If they commute from New Jersey or Westchester, like you, they face the same alarm clock pains that you hear every morning. Worse, none of those responsibilities actually involve their work.

Reporters are continually juggling several stories, coordinating TV crews, interviewing potential characters and experts for stories. They are continually researching new ideas and pitching new angles for segments or articles. And many of them have an Executive Producer who controls everything. Reporters don’t have a say in when their story runs. The Executive Producer typically coordinates that calendar, so if you ask a reporter – when will my story run? He or she likely doesn’t know.

That is also happening in Los Angeles with a media campaign we are currently running for a nonprofit organization. Our client has a big VA Conference this weekend and we were pushing for that story to run this week. The FOX affiliate has already shot the story and it’s ready to go. But she is waiting… on her Executive Producer, to say when it will run.

So the next time you think those reporters or producers are rude and self-centered, just think of them the next time your alarm clock goes off and you turn on the local news. If you see a TV reporter out on the street or anchor on the set, they felt your pain hours ago.

Macias PR was named the 2015 and 2016 top PR Firm of the Year – USA by Finance Monthly. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.