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Advice for sports journalist reentering profession

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by rmanfredi, May 15, 2009.

  1. rmanfredi

    rmanfredi Active Member

    I hope this is the right topic for this part of the forum. If not, the mods are more than welcome to move it to the appropriate place.

    I need some advice. My situation is this: I started out after college as a reporter working for the Orange County Register. I worked there for about four years, spending three of those with the Anaheim Bulletin and other local community papers before spending my last year as a staff writer at the main paper. There, I handled preps (soccer, track, cross country) and small colleges along with working the desk.

    I left newspapers about eight years ago to take a job in public relations, mainly dealing with tech PR. It was much better pay, but I never really loved it. A couple of years ago, I started my own sports blog, Your Face is a Sports Blog, which got quite a large number of hits and publicity (the New York Times used me as a source for a pre-Super Bowl story) and basically got my appetite up for writing again.

    I was laid off from my PR job last November, and that sort of forced me into a decision, and I made up my mind to get back into the industry (great timing, I know). Since then, I've been writing for blogs (Sports by Brooks) and Examiner.com (where I am covering the LA Galaxy and Sprint Cars - while this doesn't pay well, it is experience and clips that are less than eight years old).

    So my question is this: where do I fit into things from an experience standpoint? Am I basically back to competing for the same jobs I would have been applying for eight years ago? I'm OK with that, although I do think my PR experience has made me a stronger writer and certainly much more efficient and organized. And if that's the case, how do I convince employers that I'm OK with taking a significant pay cut because I'm doing what I love. (I suspect many potential employers see my job history and think they can't afford me.)

    Any advice you guys could give me would be extremely helpful, since I don't really know a lot of other people in my situation (if anything, reporters are leaving the industry for the "stability" of PR, not vice versa).

  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    I know what I'd probably tell you if applying for a job in journalism wasn't as SNAFU as it is now.

    As it is, though, I don't think it matters these days. What used to matter re: experience and other credentials doesn't seem to matter quite as much anymore.

    If you have a connection at a newspaper that's hiring ... wherever those are ... well, you stand as good a chance as anybody at actually landing the job.
  3. mediaguy

    mediaguy Active Member

    I'd think to get back in, the best route is to find the people who you worked with closest when you were in papers, make sure they know you want back in. Start there. Be prepared to move and get back in lower than you were when you left, but otherwise, it's nothing unreasonable ...
  4. topsheep

    topsheep Member

    If you love it, then jump back in. Job search might be frustrating at times, but as you said, the New York Times has utilized your words, so some paper out there will be woo'd by that. Good luck.
  5. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

  6. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    Do something else full-time, and freelance on the side.

    Seriously. Best advice I can give anyone right now.
  7. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    Havent seen a decent gig open in a long time in my area. A very long time. Competition for any sports job is fierce.
  8. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    I think what you meant was:

  9. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Damn. Beat me to it.
  10. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Out of sight, out of mind is my experience with those things.

    Good luck, Richard. You'll need it.
  11. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    I think you'll benefit more from prayer than luck. I've seen good times and bad times in the newspaper industry. This is definitely a bad time. It doesn't matter how many people tell you no, you just need one to tell you yes. May God bless you in your search.
  12. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    Not to be a jerk, but you don't have a chance. Unless you know somebody.

    The game has changed since you last left.

    I wish I could tell you that having a sports blog would help you get your foot in the door. But I think EVERYBODY has a blog now, so it's not something that is going to make you stand out. And if my brother, a non-journalist, can attract media attention with his blog (and he has), then just about anyone can.

    News reporting jobs are popping up every once in awhile. But I haven't seen a sports job in a 200 mile radius of here in more than a year.

    You may not "love" your job, but, honestly, if you have something stable in this economy, you'd be silly to leave. It's work. You're not supposed to be loving life every day.

    It's also worth noting that the vast majority of us remaining in print journalism are liking our jobs less and less as the companies we work for squeeze us more and more.
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