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Are these the right reasons to want to be a columnist?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    I am in the midst of writing a tryout column to be a cityside columnist and wanted to get feedback if I had the right reasons for being a columnist.

    1. I want to improve the paper. I hope this doesn't sound immodest, but am so confident a column by me would improve the paper.

    2. I want to tell stories I otherwise could not. I am certain that many of the working journalists on this site have wanted to tell stories they cannot as reporters.

    3. I want to provide balance to the paper. A few years ago, the paper had two cityside columnists, one I would describe as moderately liberal, the other as extremely liberal. The moderate liberal has left, leaving only the extremely liberal. I am very conservative.
  2. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    I hate columnists! Why do I have all these columnists? I got political columnists, guest columnists... celebrity columnists - The only thing I don't have is a dead columnist. That's the kind I could really use. --- Robert Duvall, in The Paper
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Hell, thinking you'd do a good job and wanting more money is plenty reason enough.

    Thinking you'll improve the paper, however, is a way to the bottle and an early grave.

    Just do your best if you get the job.
  4. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    There are thousands of reasons to want to be a columnist. They all come after a dollar sign.
  5. Beach_Bum

    Beach_Bum Member

    none of those are good reasons to be a columnist. If anything, those are three reasons that could disqualify you.
  6. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    I was turned down in my effort to become a cityside columnist. The publisher, who essentially makes all the editorial decisions, told me that "the column as written doesn't fit with the style and feel of our paper right now" and "in the event the paper expands in the future we might be able to run it, but I'm not sure."

    (My unofficial calculation is that the editorial space in the paper has shrunk 44 percent in two years and even more from four or more years ago. I doubt there is much chance that the space will increase because of financial reasons.)

    I was very disappointed when I received this news on Jan. 14. I sent an e-mail to the publisher asking if there was anything I can do to make it better and "what would fit with the style and feel of the paper?" but did not receive a response.

    I would not have gotten any extra pay for this and still would have had to do my existing duties. However, this would have been a great opportunity for me because I would have been able to tell stories I otherwise would not have and had so much access. (In these parts, reporters are treated like garbage and generally given limited access to those in positions of power, while columnists, even the worst ones for the smallest and worst newspapers are given great access and treated with the utmost respect.)

    Today I began pursuing an opportunity to become a columnist at a smaller and worse newspaper.
  7. Norman Stansfield

    Norman Stansfield Active Member

    If it didn't involve a raise, don't sweat it in the least.
  8. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Best of luck, X.
  9. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    Even without extra money, this still would have been a great opportunity because of the opportunity to tell stories and have great access. This could have led to something bigger elsewhere down the line.

    However, I have gotten over the disappointment and am pursuing other opportunities. Regardless of what happens with the opportunity I am pursuing now, I hope to leave this paper after May.
  10. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I liked reasons two and three, but especially two. One seemed to be too immodest.

    Sorry you didn't get the gig, but I'm sure you'll get other opportunities.

    On a slightly related note, the only person I've fired in my nearly two years on the job was a columnist. And that was on my second day on the job.

    That was my big "housecleaning."
  11. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    I have to side with Mr. Duvall.
  12. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    How about: I have something to say
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