• CELEBRATING BUFFALO TOGETHER
    #totallybuffalo

    CELEBRATING BUFFALO TOGETHER
    #TOTALLY BUFFALO

 

Some misconceptions about working in a newsroom!

 

So, I have to admit, I’m pretty amazed that people still recognize me and come up to me on a regular basis. I mean, I’ve been off television now for nearly FOUR years. Can you believe that!!?? And folks still approach me all the time. Some say hi. Some say they love this blog (and I LOVE them for that). Some say they miss seeing me on television – which is really remarkable and wonderful. Some ask questions about what it was like and if I miss it.

Today, the nicest lady wanted to know all about life in the news business.  She was sweet – and actually made me laugh and also got me thinking.

She, like MANY others, have the impression that it’s a glamorous job.

For the record – it is NOT.

Here are a few misconceptions. 🙂

There are hair and makeup people. Um, no. I would literally blow-dry and curl or straighten my hair at my desk at 4:30 a.m. before Daybreak, followed by a quick coat of makeup! Then, I’d do it again before I anchored mid-day (sometimes in the news car coming back from a story)! So, no pros to help us out. (At least not here in Buffalo – some of the bigger markets do have some, but not here).

There is a fabulous wardrobe department. Nope. Some reporters (good negotiators may get a wardrobe stipend) but there are no wardrobe folks. Maybe the Today Show has an entire staff devoted to getting everyone dressed up – but, nothing here. If we had a wardrobe department, I probably would not have gone on air with baby throw-up on my shoulder. Yes, that happened. When I first went back after Emma was born. I fed my sweet baby before I left for work. Oops.

There must be ‘normal’ hours. NOPE. There’s no 9-5 for the most part (maybe managers). There are early shifts, late shifts, split shifts, and weekend shifts. You’re on call for anything and everything that COULD happen. And you know that – it’s why they give you a newsroom phone. 🙂

You can write whatever you want. You actually can’t. I say that, but really – I did. I mean – with the shift and show I was on – and my long tenure – I was able to do just about anything I wanted. Most scripts do have to get looked over by a producer or manager though. It’s not 100% – but more often than not.

Newsrooms are beautiful, comfortable, and glamorous. NOT! They are huge, freezing, and filled with dust and spiders. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. Kind of but not really.

If you’re on television, you make a lot of money. Ha. Not quite. In fact, reporters and anchors make far less than you might think. There are some who make a good amount – don’t get me wrong – but most don’t. Especially the newer ones – they should make more – but, it’s just not the case.

You are enemies with your competition! NO WAY! There are some reporters, photographers, anchors, and producers from other stations who I am happy to call great friends – and many others I admire very much. The truth is, they help each other sometimes. (Just don’t tell management) 🙂

Reporters only get good feedback from the community! With Twitter around, you know that is NOT true. I would say that 99% of my feedback was nice – but that 1% hurts. People can be mean – soooo mean. Most of my friends in the media read all of their emails, tweets, comments, etc – and they do get upset with some of the nasty remarks. So – be nice!

Everyone in the media is a a bleeding-heart liberal. NOPE. I can name (but I won’t) a half-dozen conservatives off the top of my head. While most reporters do sway to the left – not all of them do.

Journalism is just a job. For me anyway – it is not just a job. It is really a part of who I am. Curious by nature – need to know – wherever I go, whatever I do – I am always looking around, trying to figure things out. MOST folks are in the business for the right reasons, but there are some who “want to be on television.” True journalists care a great deal about our community, those living in it, those working for it, those who are running it, and those who need help. That being said, I know people who are not journalists who feel that way, too! I’ve always loved telling stories – and as cliche’ as it sounds – being a voice for the voiceless – is a huge responsibility.

Those are just some… there are more, but that’s it for now!

As for whether I miss it – I really don’t. I miss some people… but, I am doing my thing now – and loving every second of it. I think people are shocked when I tell them this. The lady today sure was.

The truth is – things in the business are different now. There are fewer resources, less time, and more pressure.  You can’t – for the most part – take your time and really work a story. The stories I loved were people stories – they mattered more to me. And by the time I left – they mattered less to management.

That’s it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments!!!!

Now, who wants to hear some actual newsroom dirt!? 🙂 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Friona

Mary Friona

Following my heart with my husband and four daughters. An Emmy Award winning journalist lucky enough to work in television & radio for 20 years - seeing wonderful places, meeting great people and telling their stories.

Comments (8)

  • Avatar

    Paula Watson

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    Hi Mary
    Glad you are happy. Used to love your reporting especially human interest stories. I am a retired legal secretary and have always lived in Lockport. We have one grown daughter and a terrific son-in-law. Happy you have a blog.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Mary Friona

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      Thank you so much! I hope you are loving retirement!

      Reply

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    Rhonda

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    Great article! You cleared up a lot of misconceptions.

    Reply

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    Jo Pfetsch

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    Thank you for this, Mary. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. I do miss seeing you on Channel 2 (the best channel for news in the area), but I am super happy for you being able to be a stay at home mom. The news business sounds pretty rough to me. You made me appreciate Mary Alice and Scott a little more!

    Reply

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    Sandy Maciejewski

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    I just read ur “commentary” on the life of a TV journalist. I’ve always felt that they give up so much. Mostly family. How can u be a parent when u’r the person doing the news. I both commend & respect u for making the choice u did. I follow u on FB & enjoy all of ur family posts. Ur girls are absolutely beautiful. Scott’s a cutie too!! East Aurora is a wonderful village in which to raise Emma & Ella. Most of my family, including me, has lived in EA or Elma over the yrs. U were one of my favs, & I love being a part of ur continuing adventures. Thank u for being u!!?

    Reply

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    Ann Farren

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    Wow it’s hard to believe it’s been 4 years.. Thank You Mary that was definitely interesting.. I definitely thought it was different.. well there go my thoughts of being a Grandma journalist at 54 lol! Keep being you.. Enjoy your Beautiful family!

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Stu Pidasso

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    She’s right there aren’t any hair and makeup people. I actually have video of Mary with curlers in her hair. ?

    Reply

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