School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Getting that job in TV news: Advice from experts

Posted on: May 8th, 2014 by

Anne-Conner Dickerson doesn’t have to much to worry about at graduation on Saturday.  Even before she walks across the stage she knows her career is underway.

wtvaDickerson took advantage of the Ole Miss Producer Internship Program in the Meek School last summer.  She learned how to be a newscast producer at WTVA in Tupelo, and the station liked her so much, they hired her full-time during the spring semester.

Though there are other students like Dickerson who already have jobs by the time they graduate, most are deep into the job hunt right now.  Dickerson spent some time talking to her colleagues at WTVA to get their best advice for getting work in TV.

     “Home work – do your home work. You should research the station and whom you are   applying to. If I get a resume that says ‘to whom it may concern’ it goes right in the trashcan, but someone who says ‘To Dave Beech’.. who knows how to spell my name correctly… that shows me that they have taken initiative on their end to do some homework, to go out of their way to find out a little bit about me, about this station, and who we are and what we are. This industry rewards self starters and if you can’t take the time to do a little bit of homework then I won’t want you in my newsroom.

–       Dave Beech, WTVA News Director


    “I would tell people that you have to put together a great resume reel with no mistakes in it and be confident. Always have your reason why you want to be a reporter ready because news directors will ask. Make sure your reason is unique. And, of course… You have to be ready to move far from home.”

–       Jessica Albert, WTVA Reporter


“Persistence. If you know you’re qualified for the job then always follow-up. If you send a tape don’t wait for them to call you. Follow-up with a phone call. Then follow-up your phone call with another call. Use each opportunity to self-promote and tell them how you’re ready to get right to work. I’ve noticed that most News Directors always stall making decisions while waiting for something better. Make them think you’re the better choice they’ve been waiting for.”

–       Dave Bauer, WTVA Producer

“In one word: networking.  I got my first job in television by passing along my resume’ to a friend who put in a good word for me.  In the TV positions following, my news directors made personal calls on my behalf to news stations for where I had applied.  Never be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone, ask a favor, or hand out a resume’.  Because a friend said, ‘Give this girl a call’ I was given a shot.  Always seize the opportunity to meet people in your field and make connections.”

–       Riley Koppa-Eversull, WTVA Producer


   “The first question you need to ask is which area of television you want to work in, and in what capacity. The requirements for different vocations are varied, so you need to plan your training path according to your particular ambition. On the other hand, it’s also a good idea to keep your options open. Many people find that they end up with a very different job to the one they had originally wanted. This is one advantage of beginning your training with a general media studies course – it will give you a good grounding in many different disciplines and may help you decide which you prefer. Put your application in with a resume and wait for someone to call. Be patient….”

–     Alvin “AI” Ivy, WTVA Photojournalist

Of course, one of the best pieces of advice is to get “job ready” while you’re still at school.  If  you’re interested in the job of a newscast producer, consider applying for the Ole Miss Producer Internship Program.  In addition to earning up to 3 credits, you receive a $500 scholarship and the experience you’ll need to get a job in television news.  Contact Deb Wenger at for more information.