Reinvention…

It’s a fact of life. If you can’t keep shifting with the shifting sands, you can’t stay in the business. Yesterday’s skills are so … yesterday. Griping and complaining don’t cut it. So shrug off that load of history and grab the best of what you are and move on…

The din from the “good ole days” group is getting louder. Haven’t heard it this bad since around 2005-ish. The complaint? The usual.

They’re hiring kids with no experience for cheap.
No one wants quality anymore.
Why I can remember…

Well, I can remember too. Remember graduating from college and not being able to get a job in my chosen career because I was (oh no) female. And I have friends from that era who were not part of the mainstream culture who were in the same position, if not worse. African American. Hispanic. Asian. One of them confided to me recently that he had to hire a white friend to front for him on initial contract negotiations so he could just get his foot in the door.

I can remember what you had to learn to get your foot in the door of a broadcast newsroom. You had to know everything about photography and shooting film. Aperture, shutter speed, light meters, how to light with proper filters, sequencing, how to mix chemicals, run the processor, work any shift, take any story, get to a story using only a Thomas Brothers map book in the middle of a cold dark winter.

Things have changed – the gear now is so…well, simple. Turn it on and (all too often) keep it on automatic. The worst digital camera image today is better than the first video camera images. Yes, it seems as if anyone can get hired. I hate to ask, it that YOUR decision? Are YOU the one calling the shots? Second guessing the decision makers will not change the course they are on…if you want to change things, you know where to go.

(pause for reflection)

Sigh. I feel for those who are hurting and passionate about visual storytelling who cannot find work. Went through the same thing myself after my first pregnancy. Had the skills, the experience, but wasn’t…what is that word? I didn’t “fit the profile” of what stations or news directors wanted. (Even heard through the grapevine that one chief photog said I didn’t “look” like a cameraman.)

Many of the current “used to be/wanna be’s” are in the same boat I was in once. Out of nowhere there was a paradigm shift and no one was looking. Carefully enough.

All I can say is – keep on plugging. Learn those new skills. Reinvent yourself. Really really look at what is going on in the media and see if you can fit the model. Maybe you want to make a living wage. Maybe then you’d better reconsider or being willing to work the bottom rung long enough to begin moving up again. Find that small market who will give you a shot. Or grow up and find a real job. The news business has never been one for softies. Remember – we eat our young.

And if you make it to the top of the scrum…remember. Don’t bite the head off the next down and outer who asks if you’ve heard of an opening. Look around, try to help. At the very least, give a word of encouragement, a cup of coffee, and advice. You owe it to them. And yourself.

(wishing you all the best in your efforts….)

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