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59-Year Old "Rookie"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by mhs7386, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. mhs7386

    mhs7386 New Member

    I would appreciate any advice on how (or even if) I should try to return to newspaper reporting, preferably in my dream job as a sportswriter.

    I have spent 30 years on television, mostly as an investigative reporter. I won more than 200 major awards for writing and reporting. I worked in NYC for 20 years.

    However, I have only written a few high school football game stories, and the most recent is from 2004. I have a strong DVD, but of course it contains investigative news pieces.

    I realize it will take a sports editor thinking way outside the box to hire me, as opposed to a guy 30 years younger, who has worked at one or two papers since college. But hey, I can dream. I also think I can write pretty well.

    The good news is I don't need (or expect) to make a lot of money at this point in my career, thanks to a nice pension.

    Thanks and Happy New Year to all.
  2. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    With your credentials, I would think any place of any size would be willing to give you a shot as a freelancer. Full-time jobs will be harder to come by at your age.
  3. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    If money doesn't matter, I don't see why it would be a hindrance to have you on board. You might have to work on style, but I'm sure you would do fine.
    Best of luck in the job hunt!
  4. mhs7386

    mhs7386 New Member

    What types of papers do you think I should apply to and what are the best job boards besides this one? Who might hire someone like me?

    I have been a TV reporter for 30 years (with some freelance newspaper sports reporting in 2004), so I need a little help on where to start sending my resume.

    Thanks again.
  5. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    You're qualified and you can get a job at your age. Circle the small dailies in your area. Freelance work will probably get you a foot in the door and could open up a shot at a full-time gig. As long as you prove willing to work and capable, which it sounds as if you clearly are, there's no question you're hireable.

    Trust me, with the crap graduates the colleges are spewing out these days, we actually look at older and more experienced writers first because the pay is the same for either but the quality is much different. Most younger ones can't write a paragraph without having six errors in it. Not kidding either.

    You're a legitimate candidate if you want to be at a small to mid-size daily. Even metros would consider you for freelance work.
  6. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty New Member

    call sports eds you know. if you don't know any in your area, introduce yourself. it also might be best for the both of you if you do freelance first. you never know ... you might dislike it with a passion.

    writing a gamer on deadline isn't for everyone ... even for some people who are in the business. after 100 or so, you just shrug them off. the first 99, not so much.
  7. mhs7386

    mhs7386 New Member

    Thanks to all who offered advice on my job search, especially "Doc Holliday" and "Tom Petty." Your optimism on my job prospects encourage me.

    Have a great new year.
  8. JackS

    JackS Member

    Given the credentials you say you have and the pension, I would advise shooting for the moon. Go for wherever you would like to work most. It will more likely be freelance than staff, but who cares if you have the pension?
  9. mhs7386

    mhs7386 New Member

    Jack, thanks for the advice. The trick for me is to find a paper near my home in Tampa where I can freelance (with hopes of eventually getting on staff) without having to move.
  10. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty New Member

    thanks mhs. and if i were you, i'd find the one paper you'd like to freelance for and see what they do for coverage so you're familiar with what they do. then, to keep mental masturbation to a minimum, call the front desk and ask for his or her usual hours and the best time to contact them before giving them a call.

    i was able to pick up a photog stringer in the same manner. he was a guy who moved to my area after retiring after being a tv camera person for cbs sports his entire career. turned out, he was the best sports shooter we had on staff after picking it up as a hobby. by the time i left that place, our full-time photo guys started getting pissed when i'd bump them for the stringer for big games.

    i really didn't care, tho. i just wanted the best art possible.

    good luck.
  11. Turtle Wexler

    Turtle Wexler Member

    If money is seriously not a concern, I would mention that early. Otherwise the default thought may be, "this guy's been in the business 30 years, no way we can afford him." Take that off the table by bringing it up early.
  12. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    You ARE old.

    Unlike me, who is a young 58. :)
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