The Battle for TV Reporter Jobs: Claudinne Caro’s Journey

tv reporter jobs

Claudinne Caro’s journey as a TV reporter has landed her in hurricanes, at Presidential elections and on the red carpet

After four years of college, multiple internships, volunteer work and many late nights – you probably think to yourself, ‘I deserve a job, I have worked hard at this…why isn’t getting my foot in the door of the television industry easier?”

No one could blame you for feeling that way. It should be easier.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could flip the model and television stations fought for you, like pro sports teams battle over athletes?

Unfortunately, that is not the reality. Getting hired in Television, especially TV reporter jobs, is a hard fought chore, where hustle and determination often win out over GPA.  No one knows that better than Emmy award winning TV reporter Claudinne Caro.

“You want to know about my first job in TV? My cousin’s mother-in-law needed a ride to be a guest on their local talk show. I told her I would take her and I made sure I met the talk show host. I was so insistent to start working, he finally said yes if I started for free. So I said: YES!

“I said to myself: ‘Knowledge and experience is the currency I’m getting for now. The paycheck will come.’ I knew it was just a matter of time for me to keep on moving forward.”

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And move forward she did, beginning as a production assistant and climbing the career ladder. Since that initial “job” Caro has become a decorated reporter, producer and writer whose work has broadcast on CNN, Telemundo, Univision and various NBC affiliates.

To find out more about her travels in Television and how you can follow her lead – here is more with Claudinne Caro:

You began your TV career as a production assistant, what do you remember most about that role?

Caro: I remember working hard non-stop!

tv reporter jobs television production

“Behind the face and name on camera there are countless others responsible for a job excellently done” – Claudinne Caro

I actually started working at a small cable station my last year of college. So you can have an idea, at one point my schedule was like this:

  • 4:00am – 7:30am – NBC internship with the early morning TV reporter.
  • 8:30am – 3:30pm – College classes
  • 4:00pm – 8:00pm – Work at Dynamic Cablevision – Miavision; small Miami local station as a production assistant.

Now, people can have an idea of how hard it is to get into the television industry, and I wasn’t even working in front of the camera yet! However, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

I learned all the hard work of the people behind the scenes and it made me respect their work and efforts even more. I was blessed to start with a team that took the time to teach someone who was eager to learn.

I did it all!

I basically learned and worked in every position in the control room except the director. I learned to be a:

  • Sound engineer
  • Character operator (or supers, graphic operator as it’s called now in some places)
  • Playback operator
  • Inside studio camera woman
  • Writer
  • Researcher
  • Interviewer for both local newscasts ( they broadcasted two: one in English one in Spanish)
  • Production assistant for their local talk show and their entertainment show Miami Hoy.

All that experience allowed me to do a better job when I made the move in front of the camera and I’ve never taken the production team’s work for granted. Behind the face and name you see on camera, there are countless others responsible for a job excellently done.

Your goal was to find TV reporter jobs and work on camera – during your two years as a production assistant, how were you able to learn more about becoming a reporter?

tv reporter jobs chasing hurricanes

Early in Caro’s reporting career as a hurricane hunter

Caro: Once I started working at that small station – and I’ve kept on doing this- I made sure I introduced myself to the news director, the general manager, the producers, the reporters,etc..

I’m a graduate of Florida International University, our last class was NEWSCAST where the Broadcasting students and the TV Production students worked together to bring the newscast on air. You had to audition for the position for anchor –which happily I got- and I also had to go find a story, shoot it, write it and edit it myself for the newscast.

Little did I know, that was exactly the same way I got my first TV reporter job. That was how the reporters worked at the small cable station I started at and after driving the news director crazy, he finally gave me a shot.

When he saw my work, I was hired immediately.

You were promoted to general assignment reporter, where you did everything from interview Steven Spielberg to fill-in weather duties – how important was it for you to be versatile?

tv reporter jobs versatility

Caro prides herself on being able to report on Presidential elections and on red carpet events with the same attention to detail and professionalism

Caro: It was and it still is terribly important for me to remain versatile. It’s also my style. I’ve never belonged in a box. I’m very creative and I’m able to bring a serious tone or to infuse charisma when the project requires it.

Unfortunately, in the television industry there will be times when people will try to typecast you. They see you performing well in one area and they assume that is the only thing you can do.

You have to fight for what you believe in and show what you are capable of doing. In TV reporter jobs, I believe it is extremely important to keep reinventing yourself.

My Lord! the more you have to offer, the more you’ll enjoy the creative process and you’ll grow and evolve!

I’m also an original content writer and producer. I’ve  performed in theater. You never know where a creative original idea will be born. The more versatile you are, more doors of opportunity will be available for you. You just have to know who you are, what you can offer, believe in yourself and never, never, never give up.

“Behind the name and face you see on camera there are countless others responsible for a job well done” Claudinne Caro Tweet This

So many people want to work on camera as a reporter – why do you think you got the chance?

Caro: Very simple: I was passionate, believed in myself, knew who I was and what I wanted, worked extremely hard and never ever gave up. Never.

Over your career you have been nominated for 10 local Emmy’s and won 4 times – take us through your process of finding a story and creating an engaging piece.

Caro: I always shoot for the heart of the story. I have a very intuitive personality and that has served me well. I observe and pay attention to details, to human behavior, to small situations going on around me and when everybody else seems to be focused on the obvious, I always seem to look where nobody looked before.

tv reporter jobs emmy awards

As the winner of four Emmy awards, Claudinne Caro is someone you should listen to

Sometimes I might just see a sign that says something and that ends up being the beginning of the narrative of a creative story.

It might sound a little weird for some, but sometimes an idea might come to you as a whisper, you pay attention, you do the work, research, write, search for interviews, if you stay the course and trust the process, at the end you’ll be amazed how you went from A to Z.

Also, I work with a deep respect for human quality in everything I do.

I’ve always been able to connect to others on a human level. This is very important to me, and thankfully that respect and connection has granted me many interviews. Whenever the subject matter to cover is a delicate one – regardless of what network I’m working at the time – my managers assign the project to me.

Again, I shoot for the heart of the matter, remain authentic, respect their stories and their humanity. It’s part of my work ethic and I never compromise it.

What do you think makes a good story?

Caro: The writing is what makes not only a good story but a great one. It’s all there in the narrative. Whether it is a fun story or a heartbreaking one, how you tell it will make the difference.

Tell the truth, always.

Social media wasn’t as prevalent when you began in television, but now it is the norm – do you think social media has improved or hurt journalism?

Caro: I think it has done a bit of both. It’s important to have perspective on this issue though.

Certainly, I don’t think that we are as well informed as the Walter Cronkite days. The depth, the facts, the information, the editorial decisions on what to cover… We can’t depend on just a news organizations to find out what’s going on in the world.

tv reporter jobs presidential elections

Getting to the heart of every story is the secret to Claudinne Caro’s success

Just the other day the anchor of a major news network interrupted a pentagon specialist who was speaking about the plane that was hijacked during the Winter Olympics in Russia, to broadcast video of Justin Bieber’s arrest in Florida. I think you get the idea.

However, social media – especially Twitter – allows the people to get the headlines faster. People can take video with their smartphones at a scene before even a news crew gets there and who knows what they are able to capture.

I believe social media has put more responsibility in the individual to make sure he/she stays properly informed.

The dynamics of journalism have changed, but that’s OK if you understand, embrace the change and make it work for you. One thing you shouldn’t leave behind is your responsibility to be properly informed.

If someone in college came up to you and wanted your advice for getting a TV reporter job – what would you tell them?

Caro: I would tell them: make sure this is your passion otherwise you’re in for a rude awakening. Don’t do it just to be on TV, wrong move.

  • You must have thick skin not just to break into this business, but to remain in it.
  • Make sure you know who you are, have a solid foundation and values because some people will try to change you.
  • Keep a positive attitude and be the most enthusiastic person in the room.
  • Don’t be afraid of being versatile and creative, it will pay off, trust me.
  • Have fun, love it, breath it.
  • Most importantly: have balance, don’t make your career your whole life.

Nurture your hobbies, enjoy your family and friends, this career can consume you if you let it and that’s not healthy for your personal life and eventually your career will suffer too. Remember: balance!

 

If you have any questions about TV Reporter Jobs for Claudinne Caro please add them to the comments, we’ll make sure she sees them and responds when she has time!

 

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.

Comments

  1. lakesha says:

    I am looking for commercial tv and video work as well, as producing jobs/acting jobs
    how would I go about in Hollywood or los angeles?

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