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A Little Ditty About an Out-of-Work Sportswriter

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Riptide, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

  2. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    That was good stuff.

    This part is so true: "The reality in sports journalism in 2015 is this: You need to be willing to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and do so with a smile on your face...and not worry about being well paid."

    That's part of why, once you are laid off or otherwise put out of the industry, and then find something else, it is often eye-opening, in a good way, and is why people who move on to other things usually find that life is good -- better, even, than it was.

    That said, other than being a golf club attendant, the person in that blog entry could've been me, at one time. The same could be said of a lot of other former sportswriters, I bet.
  3. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Suddenly, I'm very appreciative of the fact that I'm sitting in a cubicle on a gray Monday morning.
  4. JohnHammond

    JohnHammond Well-Known Member

    Feel sad that he wasn't able to utilize his network to land a job. Cringed when I read this sentence: I apply for a job a day on-line, which has only led to ridiculous amounts of viral spam in my mailbox every day.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    It's hard to find a new job. Applying blindly online is almost always unsuccessful.

    And he mentions UPS. I remember applying for a technical writer job at UPS once and was told the pay is $11 an hour.

    I do think the best way to get a foot in the door is via networking. You get someone to vouch for you or to help circumvent the HR department.

    Also may have to redefine your resume and skills. If your network contacts just think you can cover sports or write a book about sports or blog about sports, maybe you aren't selling your skills properly.

    There are lots of types of communications jobs out there. Not all of them sexy. You may have to rework your resume to focus on business stories you have written, contacts you have made with CEOs and industry leaders, ability to talk/present to leadership, AP style etc.

    These are basics of corporate communications, and through your sports writing career, virtually everyone has this kind of experience to point to.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015
    Donnie in his element likes this.
  6. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    After newspapers, I did odd jobs that supplemented -- a little -- what my wife made. I finally got into freelance magazine writing, which led to other writing opportunities, but none of it paid a living wage. Finally, I got hired in university communications, which is going on a year soon. The pay is good, the hours are regular and there's no heavy lifting. I'm lucky I landed where I did.
  7. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    I feel the same. After my last newspaper job, I found a random online posting for a writer in a marketing department in children's hospital. Knew no one there but still landed the job. It was a lengthy online application, complete with 45-minute long personality test. Halfway through I nearly said screw it. If I had, I might be in the same spot as Bradley.
  8. BigRed

    BigRed Active Member

    This should be shared as a cautionary tale for anyone 35 and over in sports journalism. My job was eliminated 3 years ago (the second time it had happened to me) and my tale is very similar to Mr. Bradley's over an 18-month span. I decided I wanted to make the move into communications and also move back to the Midwest, where my family was. I sent out countless online applications and resumes, and actually had a number of bites with phone interviews, second interviews and a pair of in-person interviews before I finally landed a job in university communications, but it was an extremely stressful and frustrating process. During that time period, I supplemented with freelance work and money from savings (which I was fortunate to have), but couldn't have done it for a lot longer.
    I'm extremely thankful for my job and know not everyone, like Jeff, is as lucky. It's a tough world out there for journalists, without question.
  9. Bradley Guire

    Bradley Guire Well-Known Member

    Count me as a Bradley who was out of work almost three years as I tried for evertything but journalism. Finally relented and applied to newspapers again and got a job to pay the bills last year. But it ain't a career. I'm implementing an exit strategy for good right now. Hope to be out within a year.

    I'm really lucky that my wife makes a good salary and gets bonuses. We could never make it on my pay. Almost 35 and still making $25K.

    Fromer co-worker of mine left over the summer. Seven years in the same job, no raises, no prospects of moving up, 35, not married, from another part of the country. Talented guy, but so are a lot of other guys. He unloads Fed Ex or UPS planes part time at the airport now because he was so burned out. Plus our newsroom lost half its reporting staff within a month this fall. All 20-somethings getting out of the business.
  10. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    Just once I want to hear a good exit strategy for a career desk person. Clips or no clips, I only seem to see former reporters getting hired in communication and/or PR jobs.

    As little as I make, I still couldn't afford the pay cut an entry level job in any other profession would likely require
    Mr. Sunshine likes this.
  11. bdangelo

    bdangelo Member

    I enjoyed that piece too. After five months out of work, I am still looking for anything full time (in the business or out of it), and it's a tough road. I am doing some freelance writing for a few sites and enjoy it, but I am also grateful that my wife makes a good salary and is supportive. After 36 years in the business (and the last 31 on the desk), it's nice to sit at home with my family for dinner or do stuff on weekends. That part means more than any desk job I've had.
  12. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Active Member

    I'm not sure there is one -- even though I've always said that if you can handle working on a sports desk, you'll be prepared for just about anything.

    Even with my desk background, I managed to land a few communications/PR interviews after leaving my longtime newspaper employer -- but always lost out to people who were experienced in those fields. I still remember the late 20-ish PR director who'd interviewed me to be her assistant telling me, "If you'd had even one PR job or had been a reporter in recent years, we'd have hired you in a heartbeat."

    I managed to find a decent landing spot after two years without fulltime work, but the clock is ticking on this one now. It's a matter of whether my job will last at least three years until I can access my 401K/IRAs without early withdrawal penalties, and whether those accounts will be enough to retire on. And I'm fortunate at least in the sense that I'm hitting my late 50s and retirement could be an option in a few years. I can't really figure out a good strategy for younger copy editors.
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