By going to the broadcast world from newspapers, Busdeker also put himself in a different job bracket than other reporters who have only picked up a camera to shoot video for a newspaper website.
Though many newspapers are shooting video, they mostly have not embraced the face-on-camera approach that is TV news. Busdeker was able to get past the fear of being on camera, and he changed the way he produces video.
“I talk for a few minutes or a few seconds, and I interview people, I get all the b-roll and I put it together,” Busdeker said.
“When you produce a video for TV, generally you have to have a face to tell the story,” Busdeker said, noting that he is on camera in most of his TV stories.
Scripting is something else Busdeker added to his skill set. In television, reporters write out all of their scripts, including the interview soundbites and the reporter’s voice-over. Busdeker kept a slightly different workflow — mainly because he has a newspaper background and learned to tell stories differently.
“When I worked at the paper, I’d interview somebody; I’d lay it all out on a timeline; I’d listen to parts. I’ll clip the parts I think that are interesting. I’ll almost write around that,” Busdeker said.
“I didn’t always have to write a script when I did videos for newspapers. I could kind of let the people explain, so my interview subjects could kind of tell the story,” he said.
Another difference between newspaper video and broadcast news video is that newspapers tend to do longer pieces, but TV journalists need to stick to a shorter piece that fits into a longer newscast. Busdeker said he learned to write shorter, and quickly. Most of his pieces ended up at 90 seconds.
Busdeker used to have a different feeling about television reporting than he does now after working for a station.
“If breaking news happens at 2 or 3 or 3:30, and you’ve got to be on at 4, you know you don’t have the luxury of a day and a half to work on it. You’ve got to have it in 30 minutes,” said Busdeker. “They are so limited in time, and I’ll say I’m really impressed.”
Busdeker went from newspapers to TV knowing that he was signing up for a contract job, which tends to be the way television stations work with their reporters. He now has to figure out his next step in the media world. As of the writing of the article, his contract was not renewed at WESH, and he hasn’t found another journalism job.
“Generally, there’s a two- to three-year contract. It’s typically job security for that time — the standard anchor, reporter contracts are longer; anchors are usually at least three years,” said Tom Dolan, president of Dolan Media Management, a company that recruits and trains management teams for TV stations and digital platforms.
Television newsrooms have been recruiting newspaper journalists since at least 2008 because newspapers were ahead of TV with online news.
“Newspapers had to do it for survival. TV was slower to adapt back then,” Dolan said. However, the integration of newspaper journalists into broadcast newsrooms isn’t always smooth.
“TV isn’t for everybody on the print side. There’s definitely a culture issue,” added Dolan, who has recruited for WESH 2 News.
But Busdeker is optimistic because of what he has learned in print and broadcast newsrooms. He knows he can write, edit video, conduct interviews and be on-air.
“I will say this, no matter where I do end up, my skills are transferable to a lot of different places,” Busdeker said, “even if I do go to the other side and work for public relations or media relations or whatever. I think I can do it all.”
Write to Seth Gitner at [email protected]