By: Harrison Golden, Community Ambassador
When Fox News hired me for a behind-the-scenes position, I got the following question from so many friends: “Don’t you want to be on air?”
In the long-term, yes. But this gig offered a taste of production fundamentals: cutting footage, writing scripts, building rundowns and pulling material from Fox’s roughly 200 affiliates. There’s a discipline that comes with giving a national market a joint window to locations and issues they may otherwise not see. The more roles I played at work, the more I loved how national news can unite such diverse crowds.
But sometimes long after a network stops covering a story, the local stations keep digging. Seeing this helped me realize that local news holds a weight all its own. A news director once told me that local stations can preserve a local culture — or “color,” as he said — just as museums and libraries do. Beyond the traffic and weather reports, the best reporters at these outlets can refine a broad issue using one question: “How does this matter to the people I know here in this town?” They give their answers after seeing the places and meeting the residents you may already know, only they’re sharing the details you may not have noticed otherwise. A great local news reporter serves as a community’s extra eyes, ears and mouth.
How do the best journalists get there? They understand where they are.
Making my reel with the above in mind, I tried pulling the most from my scenes. If it took a narrow, tall flight of stairs to uncover where a story was, I would show viewers that long climb upward. If the rooms were silent, I would speak just enough to tell the story, then give the quiet some airtime. If the people out washing their cars or pushing strollers had a tie to the story, I would show them in action in the place they call their own.
So, here’s my takeaway: Even if your first full-time journalism job isn’t at a local station — and isn’t on air — you can still build an idea of why viewers need their local news. But why does the public need that news from you? Well, that’s for you to answer.
To contact Harrison you can find him in our community @harrisongolden. Harrison is set to begin his first on-air reporting job at WVLA in Baton Rouge. He used the reel shot during an RMG Bootcamp in NYC to land the job. Check out his reel below. Email us at info@reelmediagroup if you would like to participate in the bootcamp.