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Getting into the business

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MMoore1985, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. MMoore1985

    MMoore1985 New Member


    I just registered for the site, and am glad I found it. I took a quick look around but didn't see anything regarding my situation. I'm sure it's covered somewhere but wanted to make a new post to introduce myself.

    My name is Matt I'm 27 and I live in Chicago. I have always wanted to be a sports journalist as it combines two of my favorite things: writing and sports. I was a sports editor at my high school paper and really really loved it. I went to college to study Communications but ran into some problems in my life and got set back. When I went back I decided to study English and minor in communications. I excelled in my communications classes, wrote for the paper covering hockey which was an absolute awesome experience. After college I took on a couple temporary jobs hoping that something would be a fit, but as of yet it just hasn't happened.

    Not sure if this is some kind of quarter life crisis but I have realized that I really need to get into sports journalism (doesn't have to be sports but that would be ideal). I am not really that happy and my job now and would like to begin to pursue my dream.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to break in somewhere? It could be online (and online would probably be ideal as I need to work full time) but I am trying to look at all avenues. Thanks for the time, hoping to get to know some of you.
  2. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    There are a million newspapers in the Chicago area.

    Start emailing sports editors and volunteering to string (i.e. cover for nominal pay, usually $60-$80 a pop) high school sporting events for them. Tell them what you told us.
  3. Simon

    Simon Active Member

    Yup. Dick Whitman nailed it.

    Or start a BLOG. /BYH
  4. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Ditto on what has been said and definitely stay with your real job, for your own sake and sanity. Best wishes to you.
  5. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    Dreams and reality don't always mesh.

    Stick with your current paying job. Offer to be a stringer or try to contribute features or community news. But don't quit your current job.
  6. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    This. The people who have a chance to make a full career as successful full-time journalists these days have to be incredibly driven and motivated overachievers. Ask yourself very, very honestly: Have I been one of these people to this point in my life? If not, what's really changed?
  7. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Hey MMoore,

    I would echo what has been stated here. Contact some papers in your area and let them know of your availability and interest and see if someone bites. I've done that for many years. Most of us started that way. You could also contact colleges and pro teams and ask if they need some assistance working game nights.

    Please understand -- and I mean this with no disrespect, but as someone who has lived it -- it is NOT a good idea to expect to make much of a living doing that sort of work. People can work 10-15 years and earn less than entry level college grads in other fields. People do it for the reasons you described, the enjoyment of the games, wanting to feel a part of the scene and a love of writing. If you go into it for financial reasons, chances are high you will be disappointed.

    But I always encourage people to pursue their dreams, so contact some people and see what's available.
  8. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    I was telling my wife tonight that choosing to be a sports writer was the best career decision I could have ever made. I was young and naive but idealistic enough to follow my dream.

    The pay is minimal, the hours are lousy, the weekends off are non-existent, and the workload can make you dizzy. BUT, I love what I do and no amount of money or free time or anything else can replace that satisfaction you get from being who you want to be. If you really want to do it, then dive in head first.

    You live one life. Pursue your dreams. You'll never regret it.
  9. Dawgpound17

    Dawgpound17 Member

    I wouldn't say the pay is all minimal, it depends on where you are, your title and the whole situation. Starting out with stringer work is a good start--but yes the pay in minimal. That being said work your way up and yes you can make six figures in this business. Usually the way it breaks down--at least for me is August-April with the fill in days and the random media sessions and media days and what not. Pay is average and lets be honest no one is thrilled to go cover practice every day but we all love (for the most part) doing what we do. That's the best thing you can go in to this business with is actually wanting to do it because then you will want to jump on every opportunity. Don't quit the day job though, not until you get locked into another daily job in the business. Hope it works out!
  10. How many papers in Chicago still pay $50 per story?
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Honest question: No kids yet?
  12. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    I loved what I did, too, when I was in newspapers. But I quickly found there was most certainly an amount of money and free time that could replace the satisfaction I got from doing a job I enjoyed very much.
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