Why I'm not a TV reporter, not that there's anything wrong with that
By Tamara Baluja
It was roughly a year ago that I first tried my hand at TV reporting, but the trauma of it is still as fresh as ever.
I was volunteering as a reporter for Rogers TV Mississauga and was sent out to cover some community event or the other. The details are rather unimportant, but the memory of seeing myself on TV doing a stand-up is one that I would like to definitely delete forever.
The camera adds 10 pounds - oh yeah! That one is not a myth, except it's more like adding 15 pounds. Note to self - always wear dark, preferably black clothing to avoid looking lumpy.
Curly hair is a big no-no. My hair looked like a giant nest! And for some reason, I looked completely haggard with gigantic black circles under my eyes. Apparently, one cannot appear on TV without a generous application of foundation.
For some people, this knowledge is probably intuitive. But for a person who is more into radio or print journalism, such as moi, the idea of priming myself before every TV segment was a horror I just wasn't prepared to face.
For the next six months of volunteering, I think I bought more make-up than I ever had before. Foundation, powder, blush, lipstick, mascara, eye liner, lip liner ... the list went on and on. I also invested in a straightening iron and three black shirts.
I very quickly learned that I was not suited for TV. The idea of waking up an hour early just to do my hair and make-up was not one I ever warmed towards. Let's just say I'm very happy to be working at the Star where no one actually gives a damn how you dress or look.
But in all honesty, my main reason for not wanting to work in TV journalism is rather superficial. However, I also had a problem with the heavily staged aspect of TV news.
Rather than explain that to you, I'll let Charlie Brooker take it away. Newswipe, presented by Brooker on BBC 4, exposes the inner workings of news media - in this case, how scripted TV news can be.
That's not to say TV reporting doesn't have its place in the journalism industry! Of course, it does. Just, er, as long as I'm not the one in front of the camera.
Tamara Baluja is radio room reporter, a journalism student and former GA at CFRB News. firstname.lastname@example.org