How should I present my writing samples?
November 20, 2012 12:33 PM   Subscribe

I need help with preparing a letter of interest seeking entry level work at a television news station.

I am attempting to get my foot in the door at the 24 hour News channel the telecomm company I work for (as call center customer assistance (Dante's 9th level of hell, ice and all)) owns.

The recruiter asked me for writing samples to send on to an Executive producer. I majored in English and minored in communications. Most of my writing is humorous short stories or teleplays. However, I have one journalism class under my belt in which I got an A and did really well on all of the articles that I had to write. I still have these and they are well written though with the exception of one they were written off of provided notes (as was the format of the class) and are for the most part fictitious events. Is this what an executive producer for local/nationwide 24 hour news would look for? Should I provide these with any sort of attached explanation? The samples I was going to provide are:

A fictitious plane crash.
A fictitious tax property tax hike.
An obituary for Jerry Garcia (written 14 years after his death)
(as horrible as this sounds it is a great piece).
An article about left-handed people having shorter life expectancy than right-handed people (including this one because I had to do interviews for it.)

Additionally, I have almost 15 years production experience, including working on my high school news program as a writer, anchor and every position behind the camera , personally producing shorts and being a PA on two motion pictures. Would this be worth mentioning and providing links to (, youtube videos).

I really want to put my best foot forward and I am feeling self conscious about my non-real world examples and narrative production experience as opposed to "news" production experience. Any and all suggestiosn appreciated.
posted by djduckie to Writing & Language (2 answers total)
including working on my high school news program as a writer, anchor and every position behind the camera

I would not list this first under your experience. In fact, if you have any other relevant experience, I would leave high school out entirely.

If it were me (and I'm also in the process of spinning not-directly-related work experience into new types of job opportunities, so I really feel you here), I would include the writing samples you list as well as a sort of cover letter that explains who you are and how your prior experience relates to the job they are currently hiring for. I wouldn't frame it as a defensive sort of "excuse" for why you don't have some other type of experience. Just say what you do and what you can bring to the table.

If anything, I would maybe write a newer journalistic piece that is more current and which relates to actual events. Assuming you have a few days to work on something like this. An obituary for someone who actually died recently. A piece on something that actually happened; even if it's less interview and more from other types of information gathering. Something that says this is something you still actually do and not just a bunch of assignments from a course you took years ago.

Also, do you blog, or write anything else that could come under the heading of "journalism", like reviews, online feature pieces, etc? Include that for sure.
posted by Sara C. at 1:12 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

most of the stuff I have done since, even when done in AP style, is humor. Do you think that would help me any?

I don't regularly keep a blog. I guess I am not big on following stuff on the internet so I figure no one else is (even the blog I follow (ken levine) I often neglect and get bored with (sorry Ken.).
posted by djduckie at 3:45 PM on November 20, 2012

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