Tip of the Week | Dave Wertheimer: “Thoughts on the ‘Job’ “

Dave Wertheimer (Photojournalist; WCCO - Minneapolis, MN)
Dave Wertheimer (Photojournalist; WCCO – Minneapolis, MN)

Thoughts on the ‘Job’

Written by Dave Wertheimer


Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.  Confucius.

I was in a meeting recently, and another co-worker said, “It’s just a job”.  All I could think of was I get paid to do my hobby, I have fun every time I have picked up a camera.  It is a passion of mine to tell stories.

From the first time I got to pick up a camera and then learn about storytelling, I still love what I do.  

None of us make what we are truly worth, the hours are not great, and we have to deal with hostile-ignorant situations.  But we get to make a difference with a lens and a mic.  

I have heard recently from more than one Chief Photojournalist how hard it is to find a good person for their staff.  Where at one point a good station would get stacks of applications for a Photojournalist job, now they only get a few.  Also larger markets pay now as much as medium markets, small markets use mostly MMJ’s.

It’s a catch-22 when it comes to salary talks. Ask for too much and you might be dropped from consideration; ask for too little and you could be earning less than what they are willing to pay. 


Do your research and find out exactly what the position your vying for earns in the market size you’re seeking.

Attitude is everything. Stay active on this page. Join the NPPA, NATAS, SPJ or some organization you can continuously learn from.

This is from Mike Schuh-

A Bakers Dozen of Sensible Schuh’s:
  1. Be a good employee.
  2. Don’t whine.
  3. Pretend you are a freelancer — like you must impress the bosses every day or you won’t be able to afford food.
  4. Surprise the producers. Give them more than they asked for in less time.
  5. Work hard on the little story and the boss will give you the big ones.
  6. Keep your mind on the story, not on the station gossip. Spend at least 5-10 minutes exchanging ideas about the story on the way to the story. Good ideas snowball.
  7. Communicate expectations, communicate needs, communicate wants.
  8. What do I have? What do I need?
  9. On the ride home, go through the sequences about what will work where.
  10. Offer solutions, not just problems.
  11. Stand up straight.
  12. Eat your vegetables.
  13. Wear glasses if you need them.
Back to the “its just a job” guy, and the rest who think that way.  Remember the trust we have by so many to bring them stories that make a difference.  For myself, it is all about small victories to keep me going.  Larry Hatteberg taught me that some days you might have good lighting, next day great sound, day after that an awesome closing shot and so on… Once in a while they all come together in a huge victory.