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College beat writer conundrum

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Hammer Pants, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Hammer Pants

    Hammer Pants Active Member

    Like most of the college beat writers I know, this is normally the time of year I see that light at the end of the tunnel. Postseason basketball and spring football are winding down, and we're nearing the normally glorious summer months — when all those million-hour work weeks go into hibernation, beer can be consumed before metro deadline, golf clubs can be swung and fun getaways with our significant others can be planned.

    But can any of us do that this year? I don't think I will — at least not as much — and I know others feel the same way. If we ease up for a little bit, are we asking for trouble?

    I know I'm not the only sportswriter who hasn't saved enough money to comfortably withstand an extended period without work, and I've gotten more professional breaks than I deserved for someone still comfortably South of 30.

    Anyone else planning on pushing the accelerator a little harder this summer? It's not ideal, and it's far from fair, but it seems way better than the alternative.

    It would be one thing if these economic problems were just a media issue, and other jobs were waiting for educated, experienced people like us. But that's clearly not the case. I cringe at the thought of looking for another job right now, and not just because this is what I've always wanted to do (and still love to do, despite some of the bullshit).
  2. John

    John Well-Known Member

    If I can, my plan is to do like I did last summer — still write 5-7 stories a week, but cram all the work into 2-3 days.
  3. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Hammer, if you think extra work is ANY protection for job security, you are mistaken.
    Your employers look at you and see the numbers on your paycheck, period. If erasing those numbers help them make the business look better to their bosses, you're gone.
    Pulitzers don't help. Nothing helps.
  4. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Gee's right. It's hard for many to accept, but you're not in control of your destiny right now -- i.e., there's nothing you can DO, other than looking for another job or learning skills that will help you find a new job, that will give you more job security.

    Working harder only means you're working harder. It's not a path to safety.

    Just do what you're gonna do, stay aware and prepared, and let the chips fall where they may.
  5. Charlie Brown

    Charlie Brown Member

    Fran Blinebury says you have a good point.
  6. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    Spend your free time honing other skills that will benefit you after you get laid off.
  7. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    Had this exact conversation with somebody at my paper today. Realistically, there's very little on my beat that will be prominent in the paper in the next 4 months. Do you volunteer to help on other beats? Make yourself a GA writer and keep pitching anything that doesn't fall under other people's beats?

    This isn't a time when I want to seem like my job has a down time or a slow period.
  8. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    My wife and I are taking a second honeymoon to Puerto Rico in mid-July – which is already fully paid-for and which we're going on no matter what happens to my job – so I'll probably push a little harder in June than I normally would.

    And I usually don't get a lot of slack time until then. I'm the preps guy here, and we're in a big prep baseball area, I have a big end-of-the-school-year all-star section I do in late May and my All-Area baseball team usually comes out the first week of June.

    I usually have about 6-7 weeks of not much going on, then the cycle starts again with getting football and slow-pitch softball letters out, and collecting schedules from the schools in our area. That's the stuff I'll have to do before we leave for P.R.
  9. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    There is no way you should even consider working harder in your down time/offseason. That's bullshit and it won't mean a damn thing in the end - if your day has come it is coming regardless of how much of a martyr you make yourself and in the end the only thing working extra hard will do is make you extra bitter when they still lay you off.
  10. Wenders

    Wenders Well-Known Member

    Exactly. I have a week's worth of paid vacation that I'm taking in June. Everyone in the building knows I'm taking it. I told them way back in October when my friend got engaged and asked me to be a bridesmaid exactly when I would be leaving. I've worked my ass off for a year, I deserve five days away from the building after working seven days a week almost the entire time.
  11. Are we asking for trouble?
    Are we asking for trouble?
    You're kidding, right?
    Of my 30 closest friends in the business, 10 -- 10 -- are out of work right now. Not schleps. Not hacks. The best of the best. If you did the equivalent of putting a 25-player roster together, these people would be on it. But they don't have jobs.
    And two others were just told to take furloughs.
    Are we asking for trouble?
    Whoever you are, get out of the business, because you don't understand the business. It's over. We're done. Get a job in TV, in politics... Or just get a grip!
  12. On second thought, I wasn't clear enough...
    After dedicating entire lives to this profession, friends and colleagues of mine are out of work, or taking furloughs, because nitwits who manage our industry couldn't figure out how to make money off the internet. And now those nitwits are doing the too-little/too-late attempt to catch up.
    We all could figure it out: Put a beer ad -- or strip club ad, or sports car ad -- as background on the sports stuff on the Web. Hello? Brain surgery? No. Common sense.
    But you want to impress the same nitwits with dedication to spring sports coverage?
    Go right ahead.
    They're the same nitwits who will insist you go through an evaluation, then not be able to look you in the eye when they tell you you exceeded expectations yet again, BUT STILL CAN'T GET A RAISE because there's a freeze.
    Freeze this!
    Maybe you'll be the one holding the door when the rest of us walk out. If that's the case, good luck.
    Wake up. Get out.
    Or at least shut up and don't insult anybody who busted butt for years only to get bleeped on now.
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