“Breaking Into TV News” — The New Book Is Now On Amazon!

Published On April 7, 2012 | By Mike Carroll | Books, Breaking Into TV News, KCRA-TV, KWCH-TV

The book year is now available on Amazon!

Breaking Into TV News – How To Get A Job & Excel As A TV Reporter-Photographer goes on sale on Amazon as of today. It is larger than my first book Naked Filmmaking and is printed on 8×10 size paper with over 250 full-color photographs. Breaking Into TV News is 198 pages (207 printed pages) packed with information that you are not likely to find in most other books.

The TV news business is constantly changing, growing, evolving. Just look at the impact that the Internet has had on news. You no longer have to wait until 5 o’clock to find out what’s going on — you’ll get a tweet or an e-mail alert on your phone and can start reading about something happening, see photos and even video. TV new is much more immediate. This book is about TV news today — for people who want to get into TV news today.

Screen grab images from the proof-copy of the book. These are from the section “The Art of the Interview.” I’ve had student interns out on stories with me for over two decades and I have yet to work with an intern who knows how to properly conduct an interview. This chapter walks you through ever step and even tells you what to say.

It is written from an insider’s perspective, experience and observation of “the business” of local TV news. When I was 20 years old I started in a mail room at KTVI-TV, the then ABC affiliate, now a Fox station. In October 1983 my life changed forever when I landed a job at KWCH-TV, the CBS affiliate in Wichita, Kansas. I was part of the change at KWCH that took it from a bottom-rated station to a powerhouse news leader. For the past 22 years I’ve been a TV news photographer-editor and sometimes reporter at KCRA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Sacramento, California.

Pages from my interview with Jacqueline Tualla, former KCRA intern who has gone onto a career as a professional journalist, currently at KION-TV in Salinas, California.

Breaking Into TV News tells my story about how I got into the business (which I don’t recommend) as well as the stories of eleven other professional journalists. Among them are Wayne Freedman, KGO-TV in San Francisco, with a staggering 51 Emmys for reporting and writing, as well as for his work as an MMJ, a Multi-Media Journalist. Also with Chris Frank at KAKE-TV in Wichita, Kansas. Chris has been a one-man reporter-photographer since he got into the business in the late-70s when news was still being shot on a spring-wound 16mm film camera. He’s now shooting with an HD camcorder, editing on a laptop and e-mailing his stories back to the station over an FTP network. Also profiled are the new breed of one-person digital reporter-photographers like Jacqueline Tualla at KION-TV in Salinas, California; Jobin Panicker at KSEE-TV in Fresno, California; and Ashleigh Walters at WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Also featured are bosses — including my boss, news director Anzio Williams of KCRA-TV. Anzio very generously told me the story of his journey into “the business.” And, most importantly for aspiring journalists, he tells in his interview what students should do to get into the business and what he looks for.

Of great value to students with dreams and aspirations of getting into TV news are interviews with two news directors — Julie Adams of KOBI-TV in Medford, Oregon, and Anzio Williams of KCRA-TV in Sacramento, California. Both Julie and Anzio are passionate about their profession. They also want to help people to fulfill their ambitions. They tell about how to get your foot in the door through internships, how to best take advantage of your time as a student observer in a newsroom, and what they look for when hiring for a job in TV news.

From a section on “Internships” — the importance of having a website and what news directors look for in a reporter resume reel.

Breaking Into TV News is filled with all the groundwork of what TV news is, how to get into it & how to do it. Anyone getting a first job in TV news today is going to have to start out in a small market as a reporter-photographer. The days of two-man crews or reporters and photographers in entry-level stations are gone. You have to know how to do everything. This book guides you through the process.

I detail in simple language and with full-color photos what the shots are that you’ll use to tell a TV news story. I also relate a step-by-step method of how to get those shots, based on my very first day in the business and going out with my first chief photographer Jim Anderson at KWCH-TV in Wichita, Kansas. Watching Jim work effortlessly as he shot a whole story in minutes was the greatest tutorial I’ve ever been given in the business, and I pass it all on to you in the pages of this book.

Since, as a reporter-photographer, you’re going to be introduced to a whole lot of new gear that you’re not familiar with, I break down some of the basic gear — microphones, what they are, what each one does, and how best to use them.

I even show you the proper way to clip a microphone onto a person’s blouse. It’s trickier than you’d think!

Once you’ve shot your story you’re going to have to write it. I include a detailed section on how I’ve reported and put together five different stories — including my very first story back in 1984 — all as a one-person reporter-photographer. These are all stories that I shot, did the interviews, wrote the scripts, tracked the audio, and edited the stories into finished packages for broadcasting. They’re not groundbreaking, award-winning pieces but every day news stories. The type of story an intern would accompany a reporter on and would look terrific on an entry-level resume reel.

Included are my actual scripts and frames from the stories to illustrate how a TV news story is told — both in words and in video.

Then, since you’re going to be the person who also edits the stories for airing on the news, I give a detailed, step-by-step look at how I edit one news story — from importing my video, recording my reporter track, editing the interview bites and “covering the black” with video.

I even include a my own often-practiced method of how to “speed-cut” a news story in 10-minutes or less. Deadlines can be crazy in TV and speed is of the essence. I’ve had to cut a couple of news stories this way in just this past week, so this is professional inside information on how to get the work done — and keep working in the business.

Finally, there is a chapter on my observations of the “job of TV news” — the pluses and minuses, the demands it can make on your personal life. What to expect and what the truth of this business is. Tips on how to keep your job, that are probably not bad tips for any job you may have.

This can be a great business. I’ve been doing it for over twenty years and, as demanding as it can be sometimes, I can’t imagine wanting to do anything else as a career. It’s allowed me to travel, live in my dream state of California, and see and do things that most people never get to experience. Working in the field in TV news is like being given a front row seat on life — and to take pictures of it.

Oh, and did I forget to mention — get paid for doing it.

Breaking Into TV News – How To Get A Job & Excel As A Reporter-Photographer tells, my story, the story of other professionals working in television news — and, most important of all, how you could be a part of this profession as well.


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About The Author

Mike Carroll joined the digital revolution in 1999 with a Sony TRV900 camcorder and Final Cut Pro, when it was only Final Cut Pro and not version 2, 4 or a Suite.

One Response to “Breaking Into TV News” — The New Book Is Now On Amazon!

  1. Chuck Weber says:

    Just like a good TV news story, this book appears to be straightforward, clear and concise. Well done Mike. Speaking from first-hand experience as a reporter working alongside Mike many years ago, I would recommend this book for anyone seeking to enter into this crazy, consuming business. Is it a good book? As we used to say in the business: “Let’s let the (reader) viewers decide that!”

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