Beach Ball

It’s important to know who you are as a journalist. You can’t be someone else. You’re responsible for developing your own style. There’s no pretending on-air. Genuine. That’s what you have to be to make it in the business.  

As I work to cultivate my own journalistic style, I find myself critiquing every package and anchor that crosses the screen in front of me–whether that’s at work, home, or Bdubs. I ingest what that person has done, analyze how it was accomplished, what effect it had, and file that synopsis away for future reference. 

I watch reporters fly in and out of the newsroom as deadlines come and go. I hear them make the calls, tracking down the last morsel of information they need. I see them primp for on-set interaction with the anchors.

I take into account the posture of an anchor. How his or her hair is done. Diction. Poise. Camera transitions. Makeup. Attitude. 

But it all comes down to the hands.

It’s true. Think about it. There’s no argument. If you want to be on tv, you have to master your hands. I’ve found there are a couple different kinds of people.

  • There’s (1) the hold onto the mic for dear life reporter. This guy doesn’t know what to do with his hands so he refuses to acknowledge them.
  • Or there’s (2) Suzy Points-a-lot. She’s overly obvious and says things like, “I’m standing in a parking lot,” or “The man who shot the dog lives in this house behind me.”
  • (3) Mr. Casual is just chilling out with his hands in his pocket. He thinks he’s really cool and down to earth. We just see him as Mr. Unprofessional.
  • But the one that really, and I mean really gets me is (4) Beach Ball Betty. You know who she is. She’s the reporter standing there, not knowing what to do with her hands. So she fills them with an invisible beach ball. She’ll throw it up and down for some emphasis while she talks. Don’t let the imaginary bright colors distract you, though. I wonder what she’d do if I ran up during a live shot and popped the ball with a needle. Yes, I realize that it’s imaginary. But I can still see the mystified expression on her face as she says, “what the heck” and drops her arms to her side. Back to you.

Maybe that’s harsh. I’d like to think that I can control my own hands. It’s something I’m researching in my day to day conversations. So if you see me staring at your hands, now you know why. 

Is it any wonder I’ve got too much time on my hands. It’s ticking away with my sanity. It’s hard to believe such a calamity.





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