When I talk with aspiring journalists or reporters in small markets, the end goal is usually the same: network correspondent.
Tens of thousands have tried. Only a few hundred have landed that coveted position.
David Begnaud is one of them.
I connected with David a couple weeks ago (video below) to talk about his path from a small-market newsroom in Louisiana to the CBS Evening News. His secret? Finding a way to differentiate himself from everyone else in the room.
I first met David when he was a reporter for a rival station in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was one of those reporters who always seemed to land the big story or exclusive. David would get the story you wanted and couldn’t. He attributes that to work ethic.
“I’m the type of person who only knows how to give 110%,” noted Begnaud. “I always wanted to be the guy who delivered daily…every day, I came in wanting to be the lead.”
I can remember watching him on the competition with my blood boiling. Who was this guy? What was his deal? What did he do to get this story? We eventually met at church and he immediately won me over. He’s the type of person who wins over each person he meets. Begnaud makes eye contact, asks you questions, makes sure you’re comfortable — he cares…
“It’s a genuine factor. I’m just damn fascinated with people’s stories,” he added.
When it comes to advice to young reporters, Begnaud said it’s critical to find yourself. He says success started coming for him when he stopped trying to emulate others.
“I started being the best version of myself. When I did that, like a horse race, I started pulling ahead of the pack. I felt comfortable being the honest, true version of myself and news directors started saying I don’t have anyone else like him in the newsroom.”
His bottom line: separate yourself from the pack. Can you say there’s no one else like you in your newsroom? Do you and your work stand out? Do you find a way to always land that big story?
David always found a way.
I’d say it worked out well for him…