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Did you take your first job offer?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Corbin, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Corbin

    Corbin Guest

    I have a couple questions for everyone. I graduated last May and have been applying to every journalism job I can find since then. Well I was finally offered a job last week and I was ecstatic. Until I calculated my budget, at least haha.

    The entire process was strange. I followed up on my application which led to my interview. But when I showed up I had to call the editor several times before he answered. Turns out he had forgotten about the interview. Anyway, we go into his office and he asks if I sent him any clips. He pulled up my email and read a couple. Then he asked if there was anything I wanted to say. From there I just listed all the reasons why I was qualified. Then I left. He told me I'd hear back in a week. A week or so later I called to see if the position had been filled. He said he needed one more day and I'd hear back tomorrow. After four more days he called and offered me the job.

    I'll be covering the one local high school and a small private college. But, I'll be in charge of the entire sports section, which I believe will look good on my resume.When I say it's a small paper, I mean it has two other writers and the editor. Of course, the pay is poor. $21K. But I'm not planning to stay longer than a year. In fact, my predecessors didn't either. But I'm sure everyone says that ...

    My goal has always been to work either as a reporter or media relations/SID with a professional soccer team. I looked around the board for some advice on this, but wasn't able to find much. Does anyone have any tips? I'm just afraid of moving to this tiny town and be stuck covering the one high school for the rest of my life...

    So my questions.

    1. Did you accept or decline your first job offer?

    2. Did I make the right decision based on the pay and job duties?

    3. How hard is it to make the jump from daily preps writer to SID or media relations?

    4. This one is slightly random. Anyone ever taken their career to another country?

    Feel free to throw in anything else. Like I said, this will be my first paid writing job so anything would be appreciated.
  2. If you want to be in PR, then why work for a paper? As for the job, can you handle writing 2-3 stories per day and designing 2-4 pages?

    The pay is atrocious. Are you working right now? Would you have to move to take this?
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. Not too hard, I don't think, especially if you are willing to take an assistant SID job for 25K or so.
    4. No.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    It's atrocious, but it's $10 or so an hour. Those jobs aren't so easy to get these days.
  5. Corbin

    Corbin Guest

    Wow this site is quick. I like it.

    Well, I have experience writing for newspapers with the college paper and a couple internships. So while an SID role might be more what I want to do long-term, I really want any job involving sports and I think this will help me get experience. Better than sitting around working temp jobs that are completely unrelated, right?

    Yeah, I can definitely handle that. I was writing that amount in school in addition to classes, so I'll be ok. Just worried about starting out so low and with only one high school I guess. Maybe I've just spent so much time reading this site that the doom and gloom is starting to overtake my idealistic side.

    I will be moving for this job. It's about three hours from home. Yeah, I currently work a government job for 24K. But I can't stand it so I'm willing to take a pay cut.

    Ace-- Cool. I would be fine with starting out at that range. And yeah, it's taken a year to get this job so I'm kind of afraid to turn it down. Who know how long I'd have to wait for another offer.
  6. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Corbin, sounds like you got your head on straight. Also sounds like the editor doesn't care much about anything you do. Suck up the job skills and experience now for what they are worth in the long run, and leave whenever you find something significantly better.

    It's all business these days. Don't let that editor steer you wrong.
  7. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Although I can't see leaving a government job paying more than you're about to make, even if it sucks, you're young and can bounce around. Go for it if that's what makes you happy. Learn, keep looking for other things in SID/PR and make the most of it.
  8. Corbin

    Corbin Guest

    Thanks. I will. If the government job was even slightly enjoyable I would consider staying because I love where I live so much. But, it's simply a button-pushing job where nobody ever talks and there is no room for advancement, so I'm willing to take a risk. (And hopefully be able to move back soon-ish.)
  9. Hey Diaz!

    Hey Diaz! Member

    Yes ... and oddly enough, I was offered a job in my home city on the morning I left for my first full-time gig.

    I've been in Podunk sports journalism hell ever since.
  10. Corbin

    Corbin Guest

    Aaaand that's what I'm afraid of. But I'll go for it. Good luck to you!
  11. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    It's hard for me to say whether you should take the job when I don't know you or the paper. The fact that the editor forgot about your interview is a major red flag, makes me wonder about his professionalism and how he runs the newsroom. When you saw the paper, what did you think of it? Are they putting out a solid product?

    As for turning down a first job offer, I did just that way back when and I have no doubt I made the right call. I wound working at a small paper near a decent-sized city in the midwest, and it was the perfect spot for me at that time.
  12. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member


    To answer your question, no, I did not take the first offer I got right out of school. Got a much better one a couple of months later. The saying is "a bird in hand is better than two in the bush", so it's always a gamble. Lot of factors to consider: Money, job duties, location, etc.

    Don't worry too much about being "stuck" long-term. Most of the jobs like the one you described are entry-level and no one expects people to stay forever. I would guess the recent staff is either 1) people like yourself or 2) old-timers who have lived in the town all of their lives and are doing it more as a "hobby" than as a career path.

    The upside is that you will get a chance to do hands on stuff and get some clips. You'll probably have a lot of freedom to make decisions, do things your way and learn a lot.

    The downside is that the pay is lousy and you'll probably end up working a lot of hours.

    So, compare it with what other options you have and follow your heart.
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