Pitching multiple stories. Keeping up with as many community events as possible. Rushing to breaking news. Editing several videos at once. Going live when you know barely any information. Those are just a few of the many duties television reporters have everyday.
It was my dream to one day be a reporter since I was in either 7th or 8th grade. Someone randomly mentioned that it was a career they could see me doing. I then took one of those career tests, and a TV meteorologist was in my top five responses. I had my mind set. In high school, I was a part of KNN, a weekly news show where we shot and edited videos on news, sports, entertainment, everything. When it was time to consider colleges, I looked up the best schools for broadcast journalism programs and applied to those only, eventually landing at the University of Miami. I studied hard all four years, trying to take in as much information as I possibly could before it was finally time to graduate.
A month before I graduated, I landed a job as a writer at CBS Miami. I figured it would be a great gig while I applied to reporting jobs, and I wasn’t disappointed. I got really close with a couple coworkers and it was great to see how a real newsroom operated.
Months went by and I was applying left and right. I tried to be picky at first, but I knew I couldn’t do that for my first job. Eventually, I heard back from KAPP KVEW Local News in Tri-Cities, WA. I received an offer and was out of Miami a few days later.
Upon arriving in Tri-Cities, I was so excited. This is the moment I planned for for the last 8 years. I walked in ready to take on news, and I like to think I hit the ground running.
I was eager to learn everything I could, and I tried to brand myself as a team player. I was so excited and loved my job for pretty much the first year, but things quickly changed.
I was not even four months into my reporting job when two key coworkers left for other jobs, one in news and the other outside of news. It sucked but life must go on, and it did. The newsroom felt like a revolving door constantly, with people leaving and coming in every few months. I was taking it in stride, until about eight months in, when my news director, the man who hired me, announced he was moving on as well. That was probably the hardest to take, but life goes on, and the news has to get delivered somehow.
Shortly after that, we got a new news director. Things were okay at first, but it quickly became apparent that he and I were on different pages when it came to how to respectfully talk to someone, demands and so much more. I tried to ignore it the best I could, but the combination of working for a boss that treated me like I was nothing along with the daily demands of news that would leave me completely exhausted by the time I got home, I slowly started to fall out of love with news, even if I did not realize it at first.
Fast forward to July 2019, about five months before my contract ended. I was telling myself maybe my problems with news were just a first market thing, and it would get better at a second market. I started applying. I applied to a little over a dozen, making sure it was stations in cities I’d actually want to live in, and even interviewed at a few. However, reality eventually set in when I realized I’d be lucky to get a $10k raise from my current salary, with the same amount of work that wore me out everyday. In September, the thought then popped into my mind to try to apply to non-news related jobs.
At first, I applied just to do it. I applied to one job handling communications for an airline, and another serving as a public information officer for an airport in a big city. I was a finalist for both jobs, something I did not expect, and both jobs paid BANK. While I did not get selected for either job, it gave me the confidence I needed to pursue opportunities out of news. I saw a glimpse of another world, where work can still be fun, but less demanding and demeaning and paying WAY more than what I was used to. I knew then that I would only be a reporter for a couple more months.
The most difficult part of the decision was telling my family. I was nervous. I’m the first college graduate in my family, and although I would still be using my degree, I didn’t want them to think I wasted my time. I don’t even remember when I told my mom, but it was months later. She of course supported me still, but I didn’t have a job yet, so I know she was worried.
My contract came to an end on Nov. 29 and I left Tri-Cities on Dec. 2. Myles and I packed everything we owned in our tiny cars and drove across the country back to Tennessee, where we planned to spend the holidays. We didn’t know what city we were going to end up in yet, I decided to base it off wherever Myles got a transfer to, since I was now pursuing a career with opportunities everywhere. Eventually, Myles was hired for a new position with SkyWest in Minneapolis, MN. We got the official call while celebrating his birthday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and we couldn’t have been more excited. We finally knew where we were going.
I applied to jobs strictly on LinkedIn at first, just because I thought that was the best tool. I eventually expanded to listings on Indeed. We finally left Tennessee and were on our way to Minneapolis on a Monday in January when I got a call from a job as a Social Media/Marketing Communications specialist that I applied to on Friday. They wanted me to come in the next day for an interview! I went in excited. We talked for over an hour and I promptly sent a thank you email after. She responded inviting me back for a second interview the following Wednesday, with her and three team leads. I again went in, even more excited than before, and the next day I received a call with an offer, making DOUBLE what I was making in news! I was so happy I hugged my mom after and started crying. It felt like I had come so far from where I was just two to three months ago, oversleeping, neglecting my health and as unhappy as I’d been in a long time.
Fast forward now, I have been with my current company for a little over three months, and I have been loving every second of it. My boss is intelligent and I have already learned so much from her. I am respected by my coworkers and almost always receive a thank you for whatever task I get done, even though it is expected of me. I am financially stable like never before, saving up for a huge goal of mine for next year.
My skills have transferred over seamlessly. I create and manage marketing and communications plans, write and distribute press releases, create social media posts and implement new ideas to increase engagement and grow our clients’s audiences. I do not feel rushed anymore like I did in news. Sure, there are time-sensitive tasks that I do daily, but I get to take my time with everything, making sure things are right. It’s really a quality over quantity situation.
I’m not sure what my path looks like in the next year, five years, etc., but I do know that leaving news was one of the best decisions I’ve made and I can’t wait to see my future has in store.