Becoming a network correspondent is not for the faint of heart, says Al Tompkins, a senior faculty in broadcast & online at the Poynter Institute. He spoke to a select few at the CNN From Local Reporter To Network Correspondent workshop, one of the many held at the Excellence in Journalism 2015 conference.
Tompkins gave career insight to those who aspire to work for network news one day, instructing them to “remember that it’s possible to move up the ladder and go to network. Somebody’s got to do the work, might as well be you,” Tompkins said. “Don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t do it because you can.”
He says that regardless of background, achieving a correspondent position at the network level is possible. But, it requires a lot of dedication, sacrifice and the willingness to travel wherever the job takes you. However, Tompkins says that is just the start of transitioning to the pros. He shared some key advice for aspiring network correspondents:
• Working at the network level is a commitment
• This business is about the people you surround yourself with
• Who you listen to matters
• Who mentors you matters
• This business is also about whom you know
Tompkins, who has been attending these types of conferences for many years, says it’s “an honorable decision to stay in a local market or even a small market and serve a local community,” because that’s where you can make a difference in this world.