Tag Archives: anchor

Why I’m Questioning My Career, Questioning Myself, and Perhaps Unfairly Angry at Alan Ball

Alan Ball:  Unfair, Yes, but Its All Your Fault

Alan Ball: Unfair, Yes, but It's All Your Fault

Alan Ball probably doesn’t even know I’m angry. I mean, why would he? But I can’t shake it. See, I loved “Six Feet Under,” and have always considered Ball to be one of those unpredictable, bold, and truly brilliant storytellers that are just so rare in film and TV today. When Ball’s new show, “True Blood,” hit HBO, I watched, and thought it was amazing. Weird, funny, unforgettable.

So why am I mad? Oh yeah, sorry. Well, since I left my nice warm reporter’s job in Miami at WPLG, I’ve been blogging away and engaging with new media gurus and pondering a digital future–all from my perch here in Brooklyn. Exciting, rewarding, but financially draining. I’ve put in hours freelancing at the New York Post, and started work on a new online channel devoted to wine and travel that will launch this summer, but as for the bottom line, well, it’s been tight.

How is any of this Alan Ball’s fault? Sorry. I’m getting to that. You see, I’ve been swimming in the ice cold water of New York’s media world, where there are lots of journalists on the verge of hypothermia, but not many rescue boats with warm blankets. Nobody’s hiring. And the gigs that come up–the interesting ones–well, they don’t pay. (You know that “next financial model” stuff we’ve all been talking about? Yeah, well, the folks out there experimenting and trying new things…they’ll let you in on the proverbial ground floor, and you’ll feel connected to creativity and the thrill of maybe discovering a new way of telling stories, but the cell phone bill still won’t get paid.) And that brings me to Alan Ball.

I’ve tried everything. I’ve met with marketing and ad agencies, figuring a good storyteller is a good storyteller, and reporters know how to boil things down and explain them, and the good ones really know how to write, right? Well, try telling that to someone even at a funky SoHo marketing shop. You get this odd stare and head tilt, as if they were a puppy that’s just heard a strange sound. “But… you haven’t worked at an agency…” And they can’t get past that.

Oh. Rats. Alan Ball. Sorry. I’m getting there.

A friend who was unceremoniously dispatched from his reporting job at WNBC recently shared his experiences finding work as a talented reporter and writer in this environment. He thought to himself, “if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s look into a camera and talk.” He’s found work doing commercials and acting.

HBO's True Blood: I Coulda Been a Star

So there I was a week ago in the oh-so-strange world of waiting my turn to audition for Alan Ball’s “True Blood.” The new season’s in production, and one of the characters is a news anchor who does a weekly segment on vampires. Now, like my WNBC friend, if there’s anything I know how to do, it’s be a news reporter or anchor. I wouldn’t really be “anchoring” so much as “playing one on TV.” (And I wasn’t the only out-of-work local newser who had that idea. Scanning down the sign-in sheet for the HBO audition session, I noticed five well-known names who were also giving the fake news a try)

While I have no real acting training, I thought I sounded just like an anchor during my audition. The casting agent sent me off with a cheery “have a great weekend” and a reminder to leave my phone number so they could reach me over the weekend if I got a callback.

And you now see where this is going. No callback. And I’m left to wonder: am I not even qualified to pretend to be a journalist now? I can’t pass for one in fiction? I must admit it had me questioning everything, from whether I’d ever hold a mic in my hand again as a reporter, to whether I could hold out long enough for my inroads into new media to finally produce a paycheck.

Or, I could just blame Alan Ball.

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Latest Layoffs: Anchor, Longtime Managers Out at WNYW/NY

 

NYs Fox 5:  Spinning in a Vortex of Constant Change

NY's Fox 5: Spinning in a Vortex of Constant Change

The departures at FOX flagship WNYW continue, with former weekend anchor Karen Hepp leaving the station last week, according to reliable New York Daily News reporter Richard Huff.  Hepp’s disappearance from the E. 67th Street studios follows that of entertainment reporter Toni Senecal, who declined an offer of a new contract in favor of a production deal elsewhere.

Behind the scenes, sources say the turnover Tuesday took the jobs of two top managers, Managing Editor Joe Farrington, and early news executive producer Mike Milhaven, both of whom had been with the station for several years.  No comment yet from FOX.

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Latest Layoffs: WCVB/Boston Cuts Jim Morelli

Reporter Jim Morelli, who’s been at WCVB/Boston for five years, was told Friday he’ll be out of work effective April 7, according to “The Scoop” on bostontvnews:  “Jim tells me, “For me, far greater than the loss of income, will be the lost opportunity to spend my working hours with the many friends I’ve made at Channel 5. That is what will stand out for me when I look back on these five years: the wonderful friendships.”

Morelli’s an experienced reporter and anchor, who’s pulled gigs in Atlanta and at CNN.  He’s also a published author, and before becoming a journalist worked as a pharmacist and poison control specialist.

Jim Morelli

Morelli’s departure comes as Boston local newsers are still reacting to the sudden departure of WHDH main anchor Randy Price, who apparently anchored his last newscast in 7’s Newsplex on Wednesday, had a meeting with station owner Ed Ansin on Thursday, and was out of the building Friday.

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“Sudden, Devastating:” Media General Layoffs Hit Birmingham, Charleston

Media General’s corporate budget cutting hit two Southern markets Thursday, with employees cut at WCBD/Charleston and WVTM/Birmingham.

WCBD anchor Warren Peper tells the Post and Courier “I’m done.  I’m no longer employed.  It is sudden and it is devastating, but it’s very awkward for me to bemoan my situation.  Many others are losing jobs in the Low Country and around the country.”

Warren Peper/WCBD

Warren Peper/WCBD

The extent of the layoffs at WCBD remains unclear, but Peper told the charleston.net he believed at least one other newsroom employee was cut, a photographer.

In Birmingham, Media General’s WVTM laid off ten, across news, sales and marketing, but no on-air positions were affected. VTM GM Gene Kirkconnell told Birmingham News TV writer Alec Harvey:  “As a result of the continued business recession, WVTM has been affected by lower advertising spending.  Parting with valued employees is difficult.”  Kirkconnell said no more layoffs were anticipated.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  Gene and I worked together at WVTM years ago as the nightside reporter/photog team;  he’s a fantastic guy and close friend.  If anybody feels lousy about putting people out of work, it’s him.

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LA Says “Thanks for Having Us In” to Chatman

After 35 years at KNBC/LA, weekend anchor Furnell Chatman announced in a newsroom email, “I have decided to trade my weekend anchor chair and my weekday reporter’s microphone for a seat along the Louisiana bayou and a mint julep.”

LA Observed has reaction from KNBC News VP Bob Long:  “It’s very much like Chat to act quickly after private reflection.”

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