Natalie Parsons is a reporter for WACH in Columbia, SC. She is also one of the first people to come through our demo reel bootcamp program in 2013. Her journey is inspiring though not always pretty, as she admits. It’s an important read for anyone who has thought about throwing in the towel. Don’t. If you can identify with this, join the conversation in our community by signing up at www.reelmediagroup.com/register.
It’s crazy to think that my “journalism journey” only started a few years ago because quite frankly it feels like it’s already been an eternity. I’ll be the first to say this experience has not been the so-called easy or glamorous life that people picture it to be. It’s actually involved MANY struggles. The end of 2016 I was at my rock bottom. I was depressed from feeling like I just didn’t fit in no matter what I did, missing out on family-friend moments because of the distance between NY-ND, not being able to survive at times on a small market salary…and oh we can’t forget about being fired a time or two for reasons you never thought a person could actually be fired for. Then there was the breakup with the boyfriend of almost 2.5-years because we were barely able to see each other no matter how hard we tried with our very opposite schedules. The last television station I worked at as a Multimedia Journalist in Fargo, N.D. was an affiliate for three stations but only staffed for one and was running me ragged. I felt exhausted, mentally beaten and on the verge of an eating disorder from losing too much weight due to my work environment. I hated getting up in the morning just to dread the super hard news story I’d be told to cover that day. (I’m a features and “soft side of the news” kind of girl!) I had officially reached my “do or die” moment. Things needed to change.
After reading that, you’re probably surprised that I’d even say that I love working in television. I love crafting stories, being creative, getting out into the world and meeting new people. Sending off my finished packages for air every day is such an incredibly accomplishing feeling, but the breaking news route was starting to put a damper on something that I truly loved to do. My friends and family back home in New York heard how miserable I was and even told me that maybe it’s time for me to give up on this dream and choose something else, but I’m not the type of person who gives up when the going gets tough. Anyone in this business knows that unfortunately you struggle in the beginning so as much as I was struggling I just kept telling myself that hopefully there would be a light at the end of the tunnel and it would all be worth it in the end like the saying “nothing good comes easily.” I don’t plan to give up until my head and my heart agree that a particular moment is right time…and that ain’t now. Throughout all my experiences, this quote I heard ABC7 New York Anchor Sade Baderinwa say would help keep me going: “Not everyone is going to get you and that’s okay. You just have to keep going until you find people who do.”
I sent out one resume and one reel…then left Fargo the end of February 2017 for my “dream job” as a Morning Traffic/Lifestyle Reporter in Columbia, S.C. I started in April and thus far it’s been the change I’ve been needing. The market is a breathe of fresh air and being back on the east coast makes it that much sweeter. Fargo had me on the sidelines never really giving me a chance to shine or spread my wings, but the new station has confidence in me so much that my face is all over town on billboards!!!!!
Young journalists need to know that if one job doesn’t work out and you have a passion for what you’re doing – look for different options to get you to your goals. Think outside the box especially with the changing scopes of the media world. Do what Baderinwa said and go look for that place where you can belong. Don’t let the misery of your current situation be your ultimatum. You don’t have to accept it. My mom always says,”You don’t have to be miserable. If you’re unhappy, do something about it. You and only you can do that.” YOU GOT THIS. I BELIEVE IN YOU!!! 🙂