1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Big Rapids needs an SE...

Discussion in 'Journalism Jobs' started by steveu, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member


    Anyone in the know up there, one question: What happened to Bob Allan? He and I went to school together at Grand Valley and I was surprised to see this posting. Bob's good people and the paper does a good job covering the landscape up there.
  2. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    anyone have any idea where the pay would be for a paper like this
  3. Chris Iott

    Chris Iott New Member

    I have no idea what the pay is or how good the paper is. I've only seen it once or twice. But if you want to live in a beautiful part of Michigan and work for a good guy, you could do worse. Dave's a good guy to work with.
  4. wild_will

    wild_will New Member

    Go Bulldogs!
  5. lappy24

    lappy24 New Member

    Stay away. Stay far away.

    The Big Rapids paper is part of the Pioneer Group -- notorious for low pay, weak benefits and general mismanagement. It's not an employee-friendly group.
  6. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Plus Big Rapids is the main paper for the Pioneer Group, so you would have the owners looking down on you all the time.

    It's still family owned (two dailies and a bunch of weeklies and shoppers). And you're right, the Batdorff's are not employee friendly. In fact, they did get in trouble with the labor board a number of years ago and had to pay some past overtime.
  7. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    I interviewed for this very job many many moons ago, and got an astonishingly lowball offer. I wasn't exactly rolling in dough at the job I was already at, but I would have had to take a pretty healthy cut to take the job. And they knew it, too. Apparently they thought the lure of calling yourself "sports editor" is some kind of powerful aphrodisiac.

    And I talked to a couple people who had already worked there, and the consensus was that the designation of "salaried employee" was pretty much interchangeable with "pack mule" or "indentured servant." Probably this was before their little run-in with the labor board.
  8. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Star, since you mentioned salaried employee. You're definitely salaried, but they still require you to punch in and out, probably to make sure they are getting every single second of their 37.5 hours that they can out of you.

    I didn't work at this paper, but I'm pretty sure they don't travel with Ferris State, which is Division II in everything except hockey, which is part of the CCHA.
  9. David Panian

    David Panian New Member

    Hey, first post. I guess that means I'm buying.

    To provide a more up-to-date feel for what the situation is in Big Rapids now:

    The editor there, Dave Clark, has been there about a year and a half and he's been working to modernize the paper. He succeeded an editor who had been there for something like 30 years, and I guess the paper was a bit behind the times in terms of design and story styles. Dave left the News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne when Knight-Ridder was selling off its papers and he decided he was tired of working for a big, corporate chain.

    Dave's a good friend of mine, so I'm obviously biased, but he hasn't made any negative comments about working there to me. In fact, he told me once about how refreshing it was to be able to walk down to the publisher's office, say he needed a new computer for the newsroom, and get the OK to go buy one instead of having to write up a cost analysis and have it go through multiple layers of red tape and not knowing if the purchase would be OK'd or not.

    Dave's not one to stick in a bad situation. He got out of Hillsdale as quickly as he could when he got there and found out the situation was different than what the management told him it would be. He landed in Adrian and worked up from city reporter to news editor to editor and caught the eye of people at K-R.

    At the Van Halen show at The Palace last week — if you like Roth Van Halen you'll have a leg up for this gig — Dave told me he's expecting whoever gets the job will likely be very early in their career, like maybe their first time leading a department.

    He wants to do sports enterprise stories in the summer as well as cover rec leagues. There are five high schools to cover plus Ferris State. The SE will have a reporter plus a couple stringers as well as a couple news reporters who are willing to help cover games. He'll let you go to Grand Rapids, Midland, Traverse City and Detroit to cover the pros. When the Colorado Rockies are in Detroit next June, he'll be happy to let someone go to Comerica Park to do a story on Clint Hurdle, who still has several relatives in Big Rapids.

    I don't know if anyone travels with Ferris State to road games. Considering that GVSU, SVSU and Northwood aren't terribly far away, I don't see why they couldn't cover those games. Others might depend on how far the reporter wanted to drive in a day.

    Dave takes pride in helping young journalists improve. He believes in community journalism and using the paper to expose a community's warts and try to heal them.

    Those who have tried to do some online research on the paper have likely been stymied since the paper itself has no Web site. When Dave was hired that was one of several projects on his to-do list. I don't know where he is with that. A plus on that is you won't be asked to shoot video or do podcasts.

    The Pioneer Group has a Web site with classifieds on it. Considering that a 2-bedroom house in Big Rapids can be rented for $500 a month, you'll be able to live comfortably on the pay Dave can give you unless you've got huge student loan payments or huge car payments or a huge bar tab.

    If anyone else has any questions, feel free to PM me and I'll answer as best I can.
  10. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    Sandy does a good job covering Ferris athletics up there... I wonder if he'd have the inside track on this job (not to discourage anyone from applying)... do you know what happened with Bob, Dave?
  11. David Panian

    David Panian New Member

    Steve - if the Bob you're asking about is the Bob that Dave mentioned to me, he's still there. He just won't be sports editor any more. Dave didn't mention anyone named Sandy, but it was my impression that someone had left allowing for the rearranging of responsibilities.
  12. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    Fair enough. I will say if they got rid of Sandy, that's a mistake. He knows his Ferris sports up and down.

    Good luck to whoever's in on this search.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page