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Becoming a beat writer/columnist

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ksu_jeff, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Bigger is better, so I'm told. :D 8)
  2. ksu_jeff

    ksu_jeff Guest

    No, it's just that I'm not sure whether or not this is the field I want to get into. It's very hard for me to decide if this is something I want to commit to.
  3. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    Did I sound like this at that age? Please say no.
  4. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    I'm assuming by your handle that you're already in college. If you don't already have experience, then you're way behind the game.
  5. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    stick around SportsJournalists.com, kid.

    there are hundreds of real, live beat writers, columnists and former journalists who discuss the highs and lows of their jobs and the profession. do a search of SportsJournalists.com, too, because we've had dozens of threads in which young 'uns like you ask what it's like beign a sports writer.

    and yeah, the hours are tough. you already know that. sure, being a staff writer at esquire and spending a week on each piece would be really neato but those jobs are few and far between.
  6. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    For more information on "beat writers," Google: Ginsberg, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti

    For more information on "columnists," especially "Fifth Columnists", Google: Spanish Civil War, Selbstschutz or Quisling
  7. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I'm absolutely NOT trying discourage you ... but something to consider is a large number of the people doing this kind of job for a long time were absolutely crazy passionate about the prospect at some point, it's what they wanted to do. No ambiguity.

    As far as "writing something one day and then handing it in the next" on the internet, the internet is a 24/7 deadline, which is both a positive (no trucks waiting for the print edition, no hard, gut-wrenching deadlines) and negative (sometimes, you're not talking about yesterday's news; you're talking about news from five minutes ago that's now old).
  8. How about giving it a try and figuring it out for yourself? Not trying to be rude, it's just that this business is a different type of animal. It is either for you or it's not for you and you are never going to know unless you do it. You can ask this to 100 different writers and get 100 different answers and none or all of them may apply to you.
  9. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    if you have to ask the question, don't even try it. this biz is tough enough WITH passion. with wavering passion, i couldn't even imagine it. this from a 28-year newspaper vet who'll never be rich but thanks his luvky stars he hasn't had to work for a living. 8) 8) 8)
  10. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I think you should pay attention to the horror stories and get a four-year degree in something else, but you'll have plenty of people telling you that.

    And you'll still have deadlines with the Internet. The Associated Press constantly chokes its own chicken about how it has a 24-hour deadline. The Internet is much the same, plus you have to find a way to attract people to your site.
  11. ksu_jeff

    ksu_jeff Guest

    Yeah, I understand that. Believe me -- I've had to work under deadline pressure before. However, not on an everyday basis.

    For those of you who have done it (and for those of you who are currently writers and have to deal with deadline pressure) ... is it THAT big of a deal, or do you just grow accustomed to it?
  12. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I personally love writing on deadline and actually think I write better when I don't have time to sit around and stew over what I am writing. I think to some extent it is something you learn and refine and get use to, but most writers have an inherent ability to just bang out a story on deadline or they wouldn't be writers.
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