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Advice on entering the Journalism field

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Klasky24, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. Klasky24

    Klasky24 New Member

    Hello all, brand new here, must say i find the site quite interesting. I'm 17, junior in high school and am eager to enter the field of journalism, sports in particular. I've always been a writer, and always will be a writer. I'm going to be going to Cal State Fullerton (for money reasons ::)) . Obviously I'm entering the field at the most inopportune time, however this is my identity. So to make a long story short, is the field worth entering? Is it possible for a kid out of college to make decent money, even if they can write? If so where would be the best place to start? Unfortunately in a proffession such as this where it isn't what you know its who you know, i do not have any connections or starting points. Please don't patronize me, I'd truly like some insight...be it positive or negative.
  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    What's wrong with Fullerton? [/birdscribe]
  3. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Klasky, you are coming into the profession at a bad bad time. Right now nobody is hiring and those who are hired have had their wages frozen. At your age you probably aren't thinking about money, but this is a dying profession.
    What I think you should do is major in something other than Journalism, however, go ahead and try to get a stringer job at the local newspaper/website. Go ahead and pursue your passion of writing that way, but don't major in Journalism. If the newspaper business survives in some form, your clips from the local paper or school paper will be more important than your grades anyway.
    Major in something else; pursue writing as a part time job. Right now, papers aren't hiring; they are laying off people and the money is LOUSY. Salaries are frozen.
    Good luck to you.
  4. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Get out.
  5. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    BYH, he's not in. How does he get out already? He has the passion but there's no market to fulfill his passion, so he has to major in something else and if the newspaper business survives in some form, he can try to be a stringer/citizen journalist something. But the key is to major in something else IMO.
  6. Klasky24

    Klasky24 New Member

    Sorry if i offended a CSUF alumni, its not that its a bad school its just that i could do better.

    Fredrick- well of course i'm thinking of the money, wouldnt have put my age had it not been necessary for the questions lol, because people underestimate you in quite a few ways. Thanks for the help though, how would majoring in english seem to you? Many writers do this and turn out just fine, it also has a lot more options than a degree in journalism does i believe, please correct me if I'm wrong.

    BYH- i suppose that just about sums it up...?
  7. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Not trying to be a dick to the newbie.

    But if he wants to get in, my best advice is to stay out. You're 17. This field is just not worth the emotional investment it gets from those of us who believe there's nothing else we can do. Hopefully, over the next 4-5 years, you'll find something else for which you're passionate.
  8. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Not to threadjack too badly, but ... do better how? By prestige? By size? By location? By programs?

    Trust me, nobody's going to think less of you because you went to Fullerton or any other Cal State school. And you'll never lose out on a job because your resume doesn't say USC/UCLA. Your experience, your attitude, your contacts and your skills -- in that order -- will earn you jobs.

    And I say this as someone who thought I could "do better" when I was your age, too. Went to UGA because it was free, not because I really wanted to go there. I learned later that while it's important to be at a school where you're happy, your college experience is only what you make of it.
  9. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Never feel like you need to give explanations (i.e., "for money reasons" and that frackin' rolly eye thing) regarding the college you plan to attend. Plenty of geniuses have come through the small schools, and the big names have turned out their share of graduates who have no business being near a newsroom. It ultimately will be - pardon the cliche - what you make of it.

    And Cal State Fullerton has produced many quality journalists who continue to work with distinction in the L.A. area. Like its baseball team, it might not have the overall budget of a USC, but CSUF manages to compete just fine.

    If you think you "can do better". . . . Not a good idea to approach a college like you're above it. Don't underestimate the challenge ahead.

    Don't freak out about your lack of connections at this point. Very few people have real connections at 17, before they've even started. At the very least, you would make some as college continues.

    As for the main question: Depends on what you mean by "decent money." There are students who are shocked when they find out that starting salaries are often in the low $20,000 range. They always thought they would be the individual who would rise above the rest and get that great gig, but it can't possibly work that way for everyone.

    In the year 2009, starting a journalism career is a risk, an iffy proposition if longterm security is what you want. By the time you graduate, in 2013/2014, Some will say "Oh, journalism will make a comeback by then! People will figure out what it needs to do to survive!"

    Perhaps so. More likely not. The number of jobs will not magically return to the levels of yesteryear. You need to ask yourself what your individual goals are, and decide whether or not you can achieve them with the industry's current rate of decay.

    Good luck.
  10. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Well if you are thinking about the money, believe me, right now is it horrid for beginning writers. I know of some making about 25,000 who have taken 10 percent pay cuts because of staff cuts.
    My advice was not so much to major in English, but to pick another profession completely that you might want to pursue and write for a publication on the side. It's not that hard to get a job stringing for the local paper or writing for the school paper if you are persistent. That way if the business somehow turns around, you'll have experience and clips and will be able to get a job even if you major in business or something else.
    I would seriously tell you in the next year or so to see your counselor and discuss other careers that interest you.
    You don't have to be a Journalism major to write for the school paper or local paper's sports staff. If you can write, you can write and the local sports staff will teach you more anyway.
    The money SHOULD scare you away right now. Papers are dying. Staffs are being slashed. Major in something else. Pre law? Pre med? Architecture?
  11. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    get out.
  12. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    and majoring in pre anything is ridiculous. what happens if you don't get into law school and own a pre-law degree? then what?
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