The station I currently work at is the only one I’ve so much as visited (save the tour I took of BBC Studios) so I can’t say much regarding how News Directors operate. Evidently word in the biz is that they’re usually pretty heartless and overbearing, albeit completely oblivious to the goings on inside the newsroom.
My ND can be that way. The reporters are constantly frustrated at his policies that seem to make no sense in common practice. Whether or not that’s true (I honestly can’t say) my biggest issue with him as a line producer is the fact that when one of us screws up, he emails everyone in the entire newsroom about it rather than just the person at fault. While I understand this is done in some effort to make us all aware of our ability to make mistakes so that we’ll be more careful, it is the most humiliating and depreciating thing when you’re the person that email concerns.
But other than that, I don’t really have much of an issue with him. I can’t say the same for everyone I work with, but I know that as far as I’m concerned, my boss ain’t that bad. And according to our EP who has worked in newsrooms all over the map, comparatively our ND is pretty tame. And while he can be extremely difficult to work with at times, I choose to believe her.
Four months ago my boss mentioned in passing that he and his wife were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on February 2nd. Everyone else within earshot may have forgotten. But I held on to that little nugget o’ knowledge and texted him the night before to say congrats. While this may sound way too ass-kissey and a bit creepy, there is a method to my madness that has nothing to do with the hope of a pay raise.
Several of my coworkers hold tightly to the embarrassing emails and nonsensical newsroom rules and simply write our ND off as a tyrant. Any journalist will tell you it’s way too easy to succumb to negativity of the news business. It’s the nature of our trade. The world is gloom and doom, and therefore cynicism and pessimism seem to ooze from our pores. This is especially true when a common foe (read: News Director) is present. But I refuse to fall for this. It’s my personal choice to be a happy producer. Therefore, rather than jumping on the “hate the ND” bandwagon, I’ve decided to hold on to those moments when boss’s heart is on his sleeve. Those are the ways I want to remember him.
Yesterday before the morning meeting, I let all the reporters in on his silver secret. They were both shocked that I knew this (creeper) and impressed that he’d been married so long. So when he walked in wearing a brand new sweater one of the reporters opened up the congratulatory floodgates by inquiring, “Is that your anniversary sweater?”
After all the reporters gushed praises and congrats, our boss began to tell us about his wife Rachel. (Sidebar: Because I’d like to protect my coworkers’ privacy, I’ll normally avoid using names on this blog. But my boss’s wife’s name is Rachel, and I have to mention that, because I feel like the story loses its value without her name.) At the first mention of her, the stern, emotionless face we’ve all gotten used to staring down daily turned into a flush of color and awe.
“I met Rachel at the TV station in Savannah,” he started. “She was working chyron on the first show I ever produced, and she made the only errors in that show. One Friday night, she called the station to ask if anyone was going out on the town. I pulled the phone away from my ear, pretended to ask around, and told her that no one else was going out but that I’d come out and meet her. After knowing her for about six months, I asked her to marry me. To this day, I’ll always say that the best decision I ever made was marrying Rachel. And she raised two wonderful sons. I can’t take any credit for that. It was all Rachel.”
The infuriating emails, the ridiculous video-consolidation policies, each story idea that gets shot down for seemingly ridiculous reasons… those things do not define my boss.
My boss is hopelessly in love with Rachel. And that makes me love working for him.