As a TV news professional, do you ever wonder “what in the world is happening to TV news?!” I do… every day. Working in the industry right now can feel a lot like survival camp– somebody dropped you off in the middle of the woods with a flashlight and a pocket knife and said “find your way home, and good luck!”

It’s a serious issue. People are leaving the TV business by the bucket load—they’re overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. And in some stations (not all) they get very little feedback and/or additional training. And interestingly, many of those leaving the business say they’d stay if they were treated better. Recruiting has become a nightmare for under-staffed stations, leaving news teams and even managers to jump in and do even more work.

Broadcast ownership groups for the most part realize what the issues are and are at least trying to take steps to fix them. But pay needs to improve. So do schedules and workloads (can’t keep having people work double shifts and on their days off). Recruiting, retention and promotion are all keys right now. And the list goes on.

This all leads me to a question for everyone still in the business, whether you’re in your third TV job or just out of college in your first gig: who’s helping to manage your career? Is it just you? An agent? A buddy in the industry? A few thoughts on this critically important topic.

Now, more than ever, you need someone to help look out for YOUR interests and YOUR career. Do you need an agent? To just find a job, no. You’ll find plenty of jobs on your own. You can do a lot yourself. But with the state of the TV industry right now, going it alone is also risky. What makes more sense now is having someone help you with career management. That’s so much more than an agent who’s “repping” dozens of clients and giving you too little attention. Career management is taking a look at the big picture: what job you’re in now and how to help you excel in that job. Looking ahead to your next move and how to position you to get there. Then looking 5-10 years down the road to your longer-term dream jobs. It’s also giving you consistent feedback and advice. When’s the last time you got detailed feedback on your demo reel and resume? When’s the last time someone critically evaluated your last PKG, live shot and yes, your social media?

There are so many areas where you can use an experienced news mentor to help you:

*Knowing everything you can about your station, boss and broadcast group

*What jobs are out there (and some that aren’t even posted yet)

*Helping you through tricky HR situations

*Helping manage your reputation (and yes, repairing it if something goes wrong)

*Networking and connections to benefit YOU

*Giving you ongoing feedback and advice on your work and your social media, prepping you for interviews, helping you negotiate a new contract.

*Growing your skill sets

Do you need an agent? Nah. What you need is career management. And our company Top News Talent does exactly that. Our team includes experienced mentors who have been news directors, producers, anchors and journalism educators in markets nationwide. We’re tailoring our unique menu of options to your specific needs to build your career, not just get a job. Email us at to find out how we can help you.