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Career Advice

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ConorRevell, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. ConorRevell

    ConorRevell New Member

    I graduated from Murray State University this past May with a print journalism degree. Luckily, I have a full-time job covering youth, prep, and a Division II team for a Catholic Sports website.

    My duties include writing feature stories and covering four to five games a week.

    We also publish two 36 page guides in the fall and spring in our archdiocese's newspaper so not all of it is online, but the majority of it is.

    While I love working for them, I often wonder if I'll ever have the chance to move up in my career even though I'm writing for a company that publishes 95 percent of its work online.

    As of right now, I plan on working for them for at least a couple of more years so that I can gain experience. Or should I look for a small town newspaper job if I want to move up in the sports writing business?
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If you think the future of the business is in print rather than online, I think you should consider a new line of work.
  3. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Hi Connor,

    There's nothing wrong with having your stuff appear online as opposed to in print, especially in today's marketplace. It's the old guys like myself, who have been doing print forever, that have the trouble making the change in mindset.

    You've probably noticed that even the smallest newspapers have websites, too. It's true that just about anyone can start a website or blog, so it's important to differentiate between legitimate media and fly-by-night startups. But, it really comes down to what sort of work you are doing and whether you are content doing it or not.

    It sounds like you have a good gig for someone less than a year removed from university. If you like it there, be content, work hard and just leasurely look around for other opportunities. You don't have to be desperate or feel like the clock is ticking on you. The experience you are getting now will serve you well.
  4. ConorRevell

    ConorRevell New Member

    It's a legitimate media company. We're the official media partner with the Division II College. They won a basketball title just a few years back and are currently in the top ten. We do every game on the radio and we stream and provide print coverage of all their home games.

    We also have a HOF journalist who writes columns for us, he used to work as a columnist for the Courier Journal back in the 70's.

    And our copy editor is a retired editor from the Courier Journal as well.

    Needless to say, the Courier Journal isn't a fan of our company, because we do give the Catholic schools a lot more coverage than they will ever be able too.

    I love my line of work, I just hope the pay gets better over time because I'm currently living at home for the time being.
  5. Turtle Wexler

    Turtle Wexler Member

    A Catholic Sports website that only prints in the archdiocese's newspaper? To be brutally honest, that's not something I would take seriously if you applied for an opening I had. Maybe that's a big deal in your area, but to me it's a fancy way of saying "church newsletter." I'm glad for you that it's a paid job, but still.

    Don't plan to spend a few years there. Start looking now for another gig, even at a small media outlet. Make sure you emphasize the skills you've utilized in your current position (writing on deadline, publishing to the web, shooting video, live streaming broadcast, whatever), instead of the fact that the local daily doesn't like you. (Honestly, the daily's probably glad because it can now justify glossing over coverage of the Catholic schools even more.)

    And if you ask your current colleagues to be references for you, make sure they emphasize your skills as well instead of the "special section in the archdiocese's newspaper."
  6. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member


    I respectfully disagree with Turtle. Experience is experience, especially when you are lacking experience. "Despise not the day of small beginnings."

    Hell, I started out stringing high school football games for a metro daily when I was a teenager. Then a student newspaper in university. Then a part-time job at a national trade magazine where I got a nice break when the editor was promoted. Plenty of other gigs --- sports as well as news, business, etc. --- along the way. Each has contributed to my understanding of the world and the media business. Now, I've got around 1,000 published clips spanning four decades.

    Forgive me if I read you wrong, but it sounds like you are satisifed with the work you're doing, but want more pay. Well, don't we all. My first job out of college I made $14K per year (yeah, long time ago).

    If you read these boards much, you can see it's not a real high-paying field compared to many others. So you need to be realistic in your expectations. There are entry-level jobs in other fields that pay more than what I will EVER earn. So if that's what I'm after, I'd go into some other line of work.

    Bottom line, you're pretty young with the world in front of you and plenty of years to chart your own course. I remember those days. I felt the world would end in the next five years and I needed to make my mark NOW. You'll be OK. Keep working and then apply for stuff that interests you. Plenty of things out there. Be prepared for a few rejections (we all get them), but throw enough stuff out there and I bet you'll land something.
  7. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Another thought...... if you want to break into the "big time" media, there are plenty of national companies (ESPN, NBC Sports, wire services, universities, pro teams, etc.) that offer internships and the chance to gain great experience and make contacts.

    Now, understand you won't make much money at the time, but that's not the point. The point is to lay a foundation for future opportunities. But there are far, far more opportunties for 20-somethings than there were when I was that age. (Sometimes I wish I could go back in time.)

    Ultimately, you will have to decide what you want to do with your life. I have met PLENTY of journalists older than I who have never set foot in a pro stadium, who work nights, weekends and holidays alongside the rest of us, doing the same things year after year. And plenty of them are perfectly happy doing just that. To each his/her own.
  8. ConorRevell

    ConorRevell New Member

    Trust me, I know it's a low paying field. I do it because I love my job.

    My goal is eventually cover a college beat and if I get lucky, I hope to become a columnist someday.

    While I cover mostly high school games right now, I have covered a few collegiate games already. I'll keep checking in to see what's out there. If my company continues to grow, I may make more money and possibly stay with them.
  9. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    That's good. We all need short-term and long-term goals. Sounds like you are off to a good start.
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