Market Size vs. the News You’re Covering

By: Jacqueline Ingles

Not a day goes by where I don’t here an intern say, “I want to make it to market one, New York!”

New York City, the number 1 market in the country

New York City, the number 1 market in the country

Broadcast news is comprised of 210 markets.  Many newcomers to the industry look at anything 150+ as the bottom of the barrel.  There seems to be a constant rush to make it a to a top 50, then make it to a top 20, then make it to a top 10 and if the broadcast Gods are happy, make it to network.Calm down budding broadcasters!

Glendive, MT, the number 210 market in the country

Glendive, MT, the number 210 market in the country

Many people overlook that it is not the market you work in but the news you cover.  In my personal experience, no one wanted to work in my Valdosta, Georgia, bureau.  Sure, we were connected to Tallahassee, market 105.  In reality, we were market 140. But, guess what? In the year I spent there, we had six homicides in less than eight weeks, historic flooding and a horrific crash on I-75.  Not one reporter in Tallahassee had those reporting opportunities and experiences.  After one year, market 47 called and I was on my way to Austin, Texas.

Jacqueline Ingles reporting from scene of washed away road.

Jacqueline Ingles reporting from scene of washed away road.

One of the markets I always like to point to is El Paso, Texas.  A border city, for a long time it was ranked market 99.  With the international news coverage opportunities, national stories including boarder wars, drug related issues, etc, those reporters and anchors are launching out of that market right into top 5 jobs.   So, the next time you snub a low ranking market job, rethink it.  Instead of looking at number, ask the following questions:

1) What types of news does the station cover?
2) Is there a variety where I can cover a lot of different topics on a daily basis?
3) Is there room for creative and storytelling or is more of a nuts and bolts market?
4) Is there room to push yourself and do stories you are passionate about?

I found what I was passionate about in Austin.  Here is my crowning glory package that did appear on my demo real for Tampa.

As a one-woman-band, I knew I had to work harder than a two man crew. But, pounding pavement, thinking outside the box and creativity led me to an exclusive that left other stations in the dust.  In other words, I was in a market that gave me opportunity.  Opportunity and experience are what you should look for because as you rise in markets (which you will), the opportunities lessen and you are more tied to a specific role and a specific beat.

Jacqueline Ingles is a multimedia journalist for WFTS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Tampa, Florida. She specializes in crime and courts in Pinellas County. She writes, shoots, edits, and fronts her own work while doing also doing all of her own web work. Prior to WFTS, Jacqueline worked for almost three years at KXAN in Austin, Texas, as a one-woman-band MPJ. While in Texas, she covered the devastating drought and wildfires. Jacqueline’s work appeared numerous times on CNN during her time in Austin. Jacqueline also worked at WCTV’s Valdosta, Georgia, bureau and at MTV News as a political correspondent during President Barack Obama’s campaign. A native of Chicago, Jacqueline received a masters in broadcast journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She also graduated Summa Cum Laude from Loyola University-Chicago. She held two internships at WBBM and WLS in Chicago. Her print journalism work been published in the Northwest Indiana Times, Chicago Syndicate, Beep!, and the New Mexico Free Press.
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