No not me. At least not yet. I still have some years ahead of me.
But I ran into another former reporter who’s now working in pr/media relations in the public sector the other day when something dawned on me: “I do not know anyone who’s ever retired from a job as a television reporter”.
Zip. Nada. Nobody.
I have known anchors who’ve retired and ridden off into the sunset the way my dad’s generation takes retirement. But other than anchors and general managers, I can’t think of a single reporter, producer or photographer who’s actually gotten the gold watch and handshake.
It seems as though once reporters reach a certain age or stage in life, they get out of television news and into something else. Several of my former colleagues have gone into public relations. I can think of three (two photogs and one reporter) who’ve left for the pulpit as preachers or ministers. Another owns and operates a bed and breakfast in Key West.
A few have left the business and gone into business for themselves. But no one I’ve ever worked with has retired from a television station.
Now I’m still a couple dozen years or more away from sticking my toes in the water and butt in the sand (nod to Zac Brown) but I do think about it. Will I, or can I keep doing what I’m doing now? Will I want to?
I know a few reporters and producers visit this blog every now and then, so I’ll pose the question to you: do you plan to work for tv for as long as you can or do you have another plan? Is it public relations for the mayor, sheriff’s department or some other government office? When will you know the right time? Do you really think that as your 3% raise adds up over the years that they’ll keep you rather than hiring someone right out of college willing to take lots less?
What will your job even look like by the time you’re retirement age? Will there even be 3 or 4 tv stations doing news in each market?
Don’t mean to be a buzz killer here but do you think about it?