Friday, June 26, 2009

Proof It Can Be Done.

Thus far the postings here have been negative rants. Today, I have some good news to share.

There are people that do their jobs well and are helpful when they can be. As just about any other business these days, staffing is low. People have been laid off in an effort to trim expenses and keep doors open. It is also summer time and people typically take vacation time. This puts a huge strain on the ones still working to make up that workload. After all, the news must go on, the beast must be fed.

One day this week staffing was particularly low, as some were on vacation and another called in sick. The three remaining photogs actually went above and beyond to get everything done that needed to be done. I didn't hear one complaint all day, adn it was a very busy day.

If I were naming names, they all deserve a big pat on the back and a beer for being good teammates. People like this should be modeled for others.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photographers: The (Poor) Image Makers

There are two classes of photographers. Class one consists of those who come to work everyday with a good attitude, are always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done well. Everyone likes to works with these people because they are solid team members and pull their weight.

Then there are the others. The ones who are unhappy with any assignment solely because they have to work. The lazy ones. The ones who mail it in everyday.
A prime example from this morning. A car has flipped on its top. The photog goes to the scene, sprays some VO and doesn't even try to get an interview for information. He says, "They never talk out here. They're not even sending a supervisor." What he really is saying is that he's too lazy to ask ANYBODY on the scene what they saw, and rely on others to do the work later.

These are the people that drive me crazy. One day, they'll push right over the f'*^&ing edge! We have photogs who don't know how to wipe their own asses if they don't get "training". That's their answer for everything. One guy in particular sits on his ass daily, but complains that he can't use new equipment because he wasn't trained. No initiative what-so-ever. Just wait for someone to hand it to them. This attitude makes me sick.

I'm not saying that the company or any employer is perfect. There is plenty of blame to go around, but you can't sit on your ass and expect everyone to accommodate you. If you do what you can to be a good employee and a good team mate, you have nothing to worry about.

All of this is exacerbated by management's utter lack of will to confront slackers. The result of this attitude is those few stars that we do have get beaten to a pulp because they shoulder the majority of the work load (While the slackers sit on their ass).
I'm getting upset. I going to have a smoke.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Human Factor.

While I accept the idea that these are tough times and we all must do "more with less" there are reasonable limits. I find that news producers seem to be immune to these limits.

I do push staff hard to gather the news of the day electronically, but I also try to be aware that people can only run and gun so long. I have been in the biz along time. If you're fair to your staff they will go the extra mile for you when you need it.

This is a foreign concept to many producers. The ones who never leave the building except to get lunch. The ones who don't truly know what it is to not have time to go through the drive-thru because the Assignment Desk has asked you to break the laws of physics and be three places at once. I have heard it a million times... "Oh, sure he can get that on his way back. He's close enough." (It should be noted here that "close" means in the same state.)

Now don't get me wrong, I have worked with some great producers over the years. There are even one or two that I would take a (slight) pay cut to work with again. These are people who can see the big picture. People who know when to push and when to back off. People that can get you to do things that you would not even consider for someone less. But the ranks of TV News producers are teeming with the inept, uneducated, over-confident, arrogant, and the plain stupid.

I have heard producers (and reporters) ask what the price of oil has to do with the price of gasoline. I have also heard them not understand why a live shot might be difficult for the top of the show when the field team is not at the scene yet. But I can write tomes full of observed (and committed) stupidity. This will be explored in painful detail at a later date.

For now, watch this space in the coming months for comments on news of the day, behind the scenes truth from the newsroom, and just plain old fashioned bitching about the people who run this god-forsaken business.

Since I need to find a place to spew all my hate... I have decided to try writing to an audience that doesn't actually exist.

Enjoy what you read here, or don't. I really don't give a shit.