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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Charlie Clarke, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. Charlie Clarke

    Charlie Clarke New Member

    As an incoming freshman at Univ. of Missouri, I didn't even know I wanted to go into journalism until last year around this time. Luckily, this business isn't too hard to get started in (at first). I reached out to a bunch of places and eventually one thing led to another pretty much everywhere I was.

    Right now I write about the Marlins for SB Nation, the Yankees for Baseball Prospectus (Local), and Northwestern Athletics for 247 Sports. I spent 4 weeks at an internship with WGN Radio and had previously covered my high school's football/basketball teams with a small website dedicated to our conference's athletics.

    However, none of these are paid. I've started to acquire some money in this business by doing a freelance experiment this summer with accredited publications and radio stations at Cubs/Sox/Brewers games, but nothing too secure pay-wise.

    Pretty much everywhere I've been in journalism, I've asked those above me for advice. So I was wondering, what advice do you (those in the sports journalism community) have for a young up-and-comer like me? And I don't want to hear a "don't go into the business" or "get out of journalism" type of response, although that may be a popular choice.

    I'm especially wondering where in this business are some good money jobs available, whether it be positions, companies, or both. You can reply in this but I would also appreciate a private conversation to discuss this topic.

    @CWClarke18 on Twitter
  2. Holy crap. You did an awful lot of work in high school ... For free nonetheless.

    Just in reading those few paragraphs, I think it's easy to see you have quite the work ethic, as well as a legitimate love for what you're doing. As with any profession, if you work hard, are eager to learn and grow, and take a real interest in what you are writing about — you'll be fine.

    My advice would be: Find your "writing voice" through writing. Often. And challenging yourself with stories you wouldn't usually write — whether that be a news story, column, gamer, feature, whatever.

    Also, study and become an expert on whatever it is you'd like to eventually cover full-time.
    TexasVet likes this.
  3. BrendaStarr

    BrendaStarr Member

    Are you looking for advice on how to make money writing while you're in college? After? Both?

    While at Missouri, you should definitely look into doing freelance/stringing for local papers particularly with Friday night high school football. It's a good way to learn how to work on tight deadlines and improve your reporting skills. Plus, you'll earn money doing it.

    Another piece of advice: Look through all of Mizzou's sports teams' rosters and see if there are any athletes from areas where you've developed relationships with publications and pitch stories (of course, do not offer to write these stories for free; ask/find out what they pay freelancers). That's what I did while in college and it led to a job at the place I wrote the freelance stories for once I graduated. Being proactive goes a long way.
    TexasVet likes this.
  4. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    I'm glad when I was in high school and college I never had a job in sportswriting in which I did the work for free. I made some decent money, too, as a part-time guy acquiring tons of clips for my portfolio. Of course in the real world I've worked so many overtime hours for free it's sickening and sad the money I've relinquished to ungrateful recipients of the work.
  5. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    If you have decent clips, contact sports editor Joe Walljasper at the Columbia Daily Tribune about stringing high school football games. I have no idea what they pay these days -- probably not a whole hell of a lot -- but it's a chance to earn some money while learning on the job before you ever get to the J-School.

    The Trib is the only game in town if you want to earn a little money. The Maneater doesn't pay, and you can't work for The Missourian until you're in the J-School.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    My main advice to you:

    You are going to a great journalism school so make the most of it. The big advantage you have at a school like that is professors, fellow students and alums plugged into good jobs across the country.

    So do well in school. Work on the local or school paper. But make sure that you interact with professors outside of class. They could help you get jobs 10 years down the road.

    Connect with fellow students and alums.

    Work really hard at getting good internships while there. Don't wait to the last minute or consider it a requirement. Lots of places would want a go-getter from Missouri, so make sure they know you are out there.

    Oh, and work hard on doing video and video editing.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
    SFIND likes this.
  7. Charlie Clarke

    Charlie Clarke New Member

    Yeah both would be great. Thanks everyone for the responses, they are very helpful.
  8. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Does nobody see the irony here?

    Fanboy didn't even want to do this job a year or so ago. He got into the business as a fanboy. Now, after working for free a couple of years, he realizes being a fanboy doesn't pay the bills. So, he wants our advice on how to get a job that actually pays.

    The reality is what you've been doing for free is bankrupting your future. That's some beautiful karma there. And you know what? Some other fanboy will come along and do the same thing for free for a couple of years, too. There's an endless supply of fanboys who want to sniff their favorite athlete's jockstraps.

    But, in general, you sound motivated enough to do just fine. Follow Ace's advice to the last letter.

    My advice: Don't work for free.
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think it's OK to work for free on your own (cover a team on your website to build followers, etc.; write a blog; post my best stuff on sj.com).

    But I would not do work for anyone else for free. Screw that.
    SFIND likes this.
  10. Florida_Man

    Florida_Man Member

    He wasn't even a senior in high school a year ago, so I'll cut him some slack.

    I do agree, though. Try to avoid writing for free if you can. But you already have more experience than plenty of J-school kids will have, so you're on the right track. Plus, Mizzou has a great J-school. My advice would be to get on The Maneater's staff. A lot of good writers have come out of there, and I know I enjoyed the hell out of my time at my college paper.
  11. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    I've written exactly three things for free over two websites (one was in Arts and Entertainment, two were sports). The fact it hasn't elevated my career was enough to persuade me not to do it again
  12. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I tried not to be too hard on the pup. I just found it too difficult to resist not pointing out the irony. I do believe he's on the right track and getting some very good advice. But I'll never work for free. Fuck that.
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