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Being the best SE I can be.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Damaramu, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. Damaramu

    Damaramu Member

    Ok I haven't ever made a post and this one may gain me some ridicule but I'll give it a shot.

    I graduated college in May and got this job as a sports editor in August. I use that term loosely because I'm basically a one man show.

    However, I feel that I've been thrust into a situation where I don't feel that I'm doing my best job. I don't know if it's lack of experience or just not being cut out for the job.

    I think when I look back at this job 5 years from now I'd be proud of my writing but not of the job I did as editor.

    I'm proud of my writing. Sure it can be way better but I feel I'm improving. And I'm not just improving but I'm wanting to improve. But that's where the problem lies. I basically feel like a beat writer that's designing the page.

    I don't really feel like I've made the section my own. Basically it's become a formulaic sports page with the same things on it every night. And I haven't been able to branch out with my writing yet like I'd like to because I feel like I'm still getting acclimated to the job. But that shouldn't take 4 months!

    I'm hampered by some things. Like the fact that I'm the only person covering 12 high schools, a JUCO, Rodeo, and a dirt racing track. And the two stringers I do have are terrible and they don't respond to me trying to coach them or help them well at all. It's like I try to tell them what I want, and then I show them what I want. And they say "ok. I got it." then do whatever the hell they want.

    I'm really rambling here. I'm sorry. Basically can anyone give me tips on how to manage better and make the section my own? How do I move beyond a formulaic approach where the sports page looks the same everyday with different stories?

    Also since I'm just getting into the biz, how do I branch out into more enterprising stories? Right now it feels like I'm just writing gamers, previews, and player features.

    Any help at all would be appreciated.
  2. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Check your PMs, kid.
  3. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    My only suggestion is to write a column or two, that way you inject some of your personality into the page. I know how frustrating being a one-man show can be, and the only way I was able to survive was getting an opinion column out there once or twice a week on something that I liked, or something that was pertinent to the community.
    Just a suggestion, keep your head up!
  4. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    i was a one man show for four years. i will pm you with ideas. keep plugging and don't worry so much, kid.
  5. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    how big is your staff?

    maybe you need to step back from writing for a bit and just focus on reinventing the section?
  6. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Treat your stringers well. Good stringers are nearly impossible to find.
  7. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    One-man show with a pair of stringers, I believe. So cutting down on the writing is probably not a doable option.
  8. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    So, you might say, this is your first rodeo?
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member


    It's good that you are working hard and want to get better, but you really have to be in a job for at least a year and cycle through all the sports and the seasons and the local events before you can get an idea of what's coming and how to improve what you are doing.

    Just keep chugging and treat this as a learning process.
  10. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    I'll overlook the obvious headaches that can come with a job like this, but sometimes I really think my dream job would be the SE at 2-3 times per week paper with just a few schools and a bunch of local recreation and outdoor sports.

    Hmmm, Park City sounds almost perfect.

    That said, if you can find a different stringer feel free to cut one of the slackers loose. Also try to find one part timer to help you in the office if the budget allows. Let that person take phone calls on the games you miss and deal with the minutia so you can concentrate on a great front page at least once a week.

    It's almost impossible to find the time to devote for a big feature or special story. But if you have to mail it in one day (not really, but use your formulaic section) and work ahead on the fun stuff, do it.

    Chances are, your readers know you're not the Big City Gazette and won't be all over you if you have a couple of routine sections per week and give them a really good one that allows them to sit down and enjoy it once in a while.
  11. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    This is very true. My first job was SE of a small weekly, a one-man show with NO stringer help because my boss said we "couldn't afford it." Forget the fact that several people volunteered to work just for clips.

    Anyway, my first six-nine months were a blur. I started right at the beginning of football season and spent the rest of the year trying to catch up. It was rough and I found myself just trying to put out a section every week, forgetting about trying to make the section great.

    After the summer, when school came back, I knew what to expect, what the readers expected and how to better organize my time. That is when I started doing my best work and really turning the section into something I'm still proud of today.

    Keep working hard. Things will click and when they do, being a one-man show can be one of the most fun jobs in this business.
  12. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    I am available.

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