For more than 25 years I worked in television news, forecasting weather in every day part from the Midwest to Florida. On May 22, 2020, I walked away from a fulfilling and challenging job to the surprise of friends and co-workers. There were many personal and professional reasons to leave at the peak of my career, but in the last several years I started realizing how much I was missing by allowing others to control my life instead of me. We’ve all heard the quote, “No one on their deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had worked more’.” It was time for a change. And it was NOT easy.
During my final 20 working days (on WESH-2 News in Orlando) I shared on social media 20 lessons I had learned over my span in TV news. If you aren’t on Facebook, you may not have seen any of these, so now, a few weeks later, I am copying them here on my blog with a tweak or two. I hope you enjoy this peek inside the TV news business as much as I enjoyed sharing.
The first two are short so they are combined into one post. Keep an eye on your inbox for other lessons on my list in the days to come. If you haven’t signed up for email updates yet, you can do so under “contact” at the top of this page.
#19 YOU HAVE POTENTIAL
Just because one potential boss says you’ll never, ever work on television, another may see your potential and give you a chance. My very first TV news interview took me on road trip from Chicago to North Carolina. In a very small town at a very small TV station, the news director popped my video tape into the machine and hit “play.” After watching several seconds of a very young Amy with a very childish voice, he asked, “Have you ever thought of working behind the camera instead?” With tears welling in the back of my eyes, I sheepishly replied, “No, I want to be a news reporter.” “Well,” he said, “You look too young. You sound too young. You need to cut your hair, and you should really think about finding a job behind-the-scenes.”
➡️ “Keep trying. Stay the course. Never give up on your dreams.” – Amy Sweezey
#20 THE VALUE OF LONGEVITY
The weather in Florida is NOT always sunny and 70 with a chance of afternoon storms (despite what most northerners think). Moving from the Midwest to Florida, I quickly learned the weather works the same everywhere, but forecasting is different from place to place. Broadcasting in one area for many years *can* be advantageous by revealing patterns and trends which might not be noticed by someone new to an area. It takes years to build the knowledge of a seasoned forecaster. In my early days, I had to spend time proving my worth to my audience and managers, instead of focusing on the job at hand. With time came experience which led to knowledge and wisdom and ultimately confidence. Confidence generated credibility.
➡️ “Longevity is valuable, and it’s also necessary for building credibility.” – Amy Sweezey