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Do's and Don't's of the first job

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Kritter47, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Kritter47

    Kritter47 Member

    I've finally landed that elusive first job and will be starting in a few weeks, just enough time to get all my stuff into boxes and move. But now that the stress of finding a job is gone, I'm stressing about actually having (and having to keep) said job. I've had internships and written in college, but this is obviously my first foray in to the professional world.

    So other than get out now before it's too late, any of you more seasoned writers have tips on things to avoid and things to make sure I accomplish at this first stop?

    FYIs on the position, in case that will help. I'll be on a three-man staff covering one of the big local high schools and providing occasional secondary coverage of the local college. Football, obviously, is king for the first five months with basketball and baseball being the regional favorites in winter and spring.
  2. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I would listen a lot and speak very little.

    Keep most of your opinions about the operation to yourself, for a while at least.

    Just once at this job can you say "at my old paper, we did it this way," so use that one opportunity verrrrry carefully, and not for the first year at all.

    And dress better than everybody else. Not a lot better, so as to call atenntion to yourself, just a little better. It has a positive subconscious effect on others.
  3. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Great advice above.
    Learn the phrase "Yes, sir." Forget the phrase "No, sir."
    No question when it comes to doing your job well is stupid. Do as much research as you can, but if you want to know who was the QB in 2002, don't be afraid to ask.
  4. Bubba Fett

    Bubba Fett Active Member

    Early on, try to eat as many meals as you can with your coworkers. Get to know them away from the sports corner of your newsroom. Great way to break the ice and find common ground with people you'll be working a lot of long hours alongside.

    Grab a notebook and fill it up with the things people tell you about how they and their systems work. That way they don't have to explain how they search the archives or download AP photos over and over again.

    The quicker you catch on, the quicker you're just one of the guys -- and not the new guy.

    And as Dalton advises, "Be nice."

    And make sure your shoes look good, too.
  5. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    And never, EVER say "But my professor said..."
  6. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Do not be afraid to ask questions. If your immediate supervisor isn't open to your questions, find someone who is.

    Introduce yourself to as many people as you can at the office and on your beat. Collect cards and try to remember names.

    Don't try to knock one out of the park with every article you write. Just get the point across, get the job done. Back to basics.

    Be sure to mind your Ps and Qs when drinking/traveling with colleagues. No amount of fun or debauchery is worth the reputation you could earn.

    Good luck! Someone who cares about their career as much as you do will be fine.
  7. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Read your stories when they appear in the paper to see what changes were made.

    Desk people probably won't go over changes with you unless they are messing with the lead or have questions, so take a good look at the story as it appeared in the paper and compare it to what you sent in.

    Notice how it was tightened. Notice any style changes (whether it's "Coach" or "coach").

    And use that knowledge to make your stories better and tighter. Your desk people will appreciate it, and if they are in your corner you are on your way.
  8. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Until it's time not to be nice. When is that? You won't know - they will tell you.
  9. Superman

    Superman Guest

    Notebook and paper. I've had one or two digital recorders crap out on me. Ask smart questions. Don't ask style questions when there are dozens of style books around the office to look at. Drive around town and get to know the area so you don't get lost going somewhere or arrive late.
  10. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    kritter - folks in the newspaper biz tend to hang together quite a bit after work. when i was a writer, one place i worked at played a lot of poker together and another literally threw full-blown parties ... mrs. petty didn't like that stop all that much. bottom line is there's plenty of socializing with co-workers.

    the one thing i will add is don't trust nobody, absolutely no one for at least six months if you feel so inclined to talk some smack about your place of employment after work and over ... whatever you choose to do.

    the guy who seemed cool as shit for a month and a half at work and through half a buzz one night might look like a pure douchebag in another week.
  11. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Make deadline. Every time.
  12. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    Don't sleep with anyone on the cleaning crew. [/Costanza]
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