It's a tough gig: lots of times, reporters are one-man bands responsible for lugging around a camera and filming their own footage, all while keeping abreast of a story's latest developments, and looking impeccably dressed and ready for air.
It's a highly competitive industry and getting to the top isn't easy, nor is landing the story, which often finds the reporters heading straight into the eye of a given storm to get the scoop for those who are watching at home, and rely on that news to make decisions and stay safe.
Current and former TV reporters shared with A Plus what drives them to go to work each day, what keeps them motivated to do what they do, and why they have remained in — or left — the field. Their responses are revelatory and will give you a greater respect for what at times might seem like a fluffy profession.
To protect those who may still work in the industry, we have withheld names by request.
1. "The worst part of the job is knocking on doors at the homes of grieving families."
2. "There are a few reporters who treat people poorly while chasing a story, leaving them to think we are ruthless jerks."
3. "Our ability to work year after year telling stories in new ways is pretty amazing."
4. "I never knew what I would be doing at the beginning of the shift and sometimes it was wildly changing and heart-thumping ... but at some point, it started feeling repetitive and in-the-box."
5. "This job continually pushes me to face my fears. At the end of the day, it's pretty cool to think, 'Wow I can do that ... I got this.' "
6. "I had to sue the first TV station I worked for because they denied my unemployment after my contract ended."
7. "People think we all are rich and living 'la vida loca.' I've been in the business almost a decade and I still bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to work and rent movies from the library."
8. "The low pay, coupled with working crazy hours and holidays, does not make this a glamorous profession."
9. "If the industry becomes completely worthless, noninformative, and shallow, I'm out."
10. "Las Vegas strip revelers during serious stories were always challenging and wild."
11. "As a one-man-band reporter, I once searched/chased after a llama on the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado. Weirdest assignment ever."
12. "I'm always nervous to some degree, that keeps the fire burning. When you're not nervous on a small level, you're not killin' it!"
13. "I am completely comfortable being in front of a camera, but when it's a big, breaking story, it can get pretty nerve-wracking — especially if I don't have a prompter."
14. "Secretly, I love being the center of attention."
15. "A lot of times, we get blamed for reporting facts, and some people don't like the facts. You can't call us bad reporters just because you don't like the facts we're reporting."
16. "People constantly think we drive Mercedes-Benz cars and live in McMansions when we struggle to pay bills and eat ramen noodles just to survive."
17. "I would love to be a part of a national show. I believe it will happen."
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