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Do you still have to work your way up in this biz..

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by elephant, May 17, 2008.

  1. elephant

    elephant New Member

    My career hasn’t turned out as planned in that I’ve spent longer than expected at a smaller publication.
    It’s been a great experience but I thought that by my thirtieth birthday I’d have advanced further.
    My problem is I’m starting to realise that there is a scarcity of jobs at the top of the industry, and while it would be good to get a bigger job from talking to friends the conditions of those employees seem to have deteriorated too.
    Interested to know to those of you followed the route of starting off at a smaller paper and learning the ropes before moving up, how long did it take.
    I’m 30 and seriously questioning my direction, is it just me or is the traditional route of starting out at smaller publications and working their way up, dried up.
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Took almost five years at small papers before I made it to my mid-size daily. That was in the '90s.

    If you are still looking at staying in the biz, a smaller paper might be the way to go nowadays. There aren't as many jobs to be cut.
  3. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Indeed. "The ladder" is definitely falling apart.
    Not sure where you're at, but it seems like the biggest challenge is that jump from mid-sized to metro, and then the realization that most metros may not be as great as advertised.
    For sure there are fewer jobs, and I think you've got a combination of people staying put (b/c they can't move on and up), and, when there are openings, papers going younger and younger (cheaper and cheaper) in their hiring.
    So it seems, to me at least, that it's easier to land at a metro straight out of school, or one year in, than it was even 5 and certainly 10 years ago. But harder to break in once you've got a few years under your belt (even though you're presumably a better journalist). And if you've got more than a few it becomes very hard.
    Yeah, it sucks.
  4. silentbob

    silentbob Member

    I agree with STL.

    The print collapse benefits the college grads. Bigger papers are looking to hire younger reporters and editors at lower salaries. I would think those working at smaller papers also have a decent shot at moving up, as long as they do their homework and identify openings before they become "public."
  5. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    If you know the right people, anything is possible. That's what it all comes down to, especially in this climate.
  6. fremont

    fremont Member

    I had a full-time sports gig at a ~9K circulation daily before I had a high school diploma and have never been to college. The paper was J-school for me. I probably thought it was because I was some sort of journalism wunderkind at the time, but it didn't take long to figure out why I was there - I was cheap.

    Later I worked at a ~28K circulation daily - once again, for cheap.

    You can get a job just knowing people and having maybe a little talent, but you're not going to make much money. Come to think of it, you're not going to make much money in this business, period.
  7. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    stl is spot on, once again.
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