Moving On Up

"Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally." -David Frost

The best part of my job is all the great people I get to meet. The worst part is saying goodbye to most of them.

When I started with WTVY, Erica Proffer and Martha Spencer were on the morning show, Skylar Zwick was the evening co-anchor, Vanessa Araiza was the weekend anchor and Brad Sherwood was in Sports, just to name a few.

Now, I think I'm on my fifth round of reporters.

One of the biggest questions I (even my husband!) get asked is why people are always leaving WTVY. Many times it's suggested that it's a terrible place to work, which is simply not true. A lot of you think it's about money; others assume it's location; and I've even been asked if we're nothing more than an intern program.

I'll go ahead and clear that last one up now. While WTVY does have an internship program, all of the reporters and anchors you see on our shows are employees of the station. They are being paid to work. Our interns get to shoot video and put together practice stories, but they don't make it on our air.

Moving on...

WTVY is a small/mid-size market that operates like a much bigger market. We're the station where many aspiring journalists come to get their feet wet or figure out that this business isn't for them. Most of the people we hire aren't looking at the Wiregrass as a permanent home. In fact, most of the people who come here to work are a farther more than a car ride away from home. For them, WTVY is a stepping stone to the next thing whether that be a bigger market or closer to home, and we're well equipped to get them there.

But not everybody leaves. For some of us, myself included, the Wiregrass is our home. It's where we grew up, and there's nothing better than being able to tell the stories of those people we know.

As I said earlier, I have met some great people through WTVY. I have journalist friends all across the country. I reached out to former coworkers through Facebook about their decisions to move on. I'll let them tell you in their own words.  

Erica Proffer: Where do I begin?! I would say, to grow. Of course, bigger market usually means more money, but it's more than that. You learn from others who come from all different backgrounds. You experience more cultures. You evolve as a reporter and as a worker. You see how other companies operate, how other viewers watch the news. It helps a reporter become a well-rounded journalist. At least, it did for me WTVY is home for me. For many who start out in the news business there, it will always have a big place in their heart.

Martha Spencer: Because you need to go to bigger markets for bigger challenges and better resources. Weather not as much, that's more about $ :)

Tessa DarlingtonI always compared the TV news business to minor/major league baseball. You start in the minors... hoping to get called up to the majors.

Deanna Bettineschi: Moving closer to family

Patrick Claybon: I left Dothan because I had a great opportunity to cover sports in my hometown. I was pretty determined not to leave just for the sake of leaving, like "Oh you've been here for X amount of time now it's time to "Go to bigger and better things."


Some of my other journalist friends also chimed in, as well as a former professor, and I really agree with their assessments, so I thought I'd share those with you as well.

Josh Gauntt: It's about the money and experience. Dothan is a starter market for so many people and some use it as a stepping stone to bigger TV markets. You can use this restaurant analogy..Some people don't want to wash dishes all their lives..Some people want to be the head chef or owner of the restaurant. But you have to put in that "sweat equity" in order for that to happen. Stations like WTVY provide that sweat equity for people to move up. In other words, you have to pay your dues! But some others like smaller cities and those smaller TV markets are for them. 

Kyle Bozeman: Our "old think" on that kinda thing: that first job out of college, usually at a 150+ market station, is kind of a working "master's degree"--except there's no diploma, but there is pay (a little) your cards right, get lucky, and you either move up to a better paying job, or to a larger, better paying market, or a better station, or a better job in a related area, etc. 

If I remember correctly from school, the average journalist moves every 2-3 years. For some, it's all about making it to the top, a.k.a. CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox. For others it's about the money. And for some of us it's even simpler. We're in it for you guys. To tell the stories of the places and people we love to the people who need and/or want to hear them.



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