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Going to a weekly?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Sconnie, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. Sconnie

    Sconnie Member


    I'm not quite a year out of college, and I currently work a few states from home. I'm interested in moving a little closer to home, but the only thing I can find right now is a twice-weekly editor gig. Is it worth it to move down the ladder to weekly, or should I hold out for a daily job. My buddy told me once you go weekly, it's hard to get back into the daily world.
  2. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    First, this will soon be moved to the Journalism Topics Only board, so if you see the discussion eliminated from here, that's why.

    I made the daily --> weekly move myself, a situation where I lost a management job and was unemployed for a spell before getting this job, where I've been for the last 18 months. Every situation is different -- I don't think you can generalize about the difficulties of getting back to a daily, though you may have to be prepared to defend why you made the move if it gets to the interview process. You may want to make a note in the resume or cover letter that you moved to be closer to home; a lot of people, even (gasp!) managers understand what that's about.

    There are good non-daily writers out there (not me), and you can actually make okay money compared to bigger dailies. I know the lowest-paid writer here makes more than a good number of people at a 30K daily in the same chain an hour away. It doesn't have to be a stumbling block for future advancement. But a lot of it is going to fall on your shoulders: if you write a good story at a weekly and it makes your clip file, no halway-sober ME or SE is going to discount it because it wasn't in a daily paper. The only thing you'll miss as far as hands-on experience from working at a non-daily is producing gamers on deadline. If you think that could be a stickling point, I'd suggest getting your name out there as a freelancer, to keep your witching hour writing skills sharp.

    Plus, if you want to work around the area where you would be moving to, you'd actually have a better chance catching the eye of a SE/ME/EE there because they can have more opportunity to see your work, and you can network with people there at games and whatnot.

    Bottom line: go there if you think the situation is right. Don't let "weekly" or "semi-weekly" or "non-daily" enter the equation. If it's a good fit with good opportunities and better or equivalent money, then by all means go for it. But you know your situation better than I </captain obvious>.
  3. cityemployee

    cityemployee New Member

    NEVER go weekly if you want to work at a daily and work your way up the ladder ... even editors at the weekly level have worked at dailies before that gig ...

    Basic concept ... the more you write, the better you get ... you fall into a lot of bad work habits at a weekly because you never get any feedback (your basically churning out copy like you are at a factory).

    I know a guy that similiar to your position that just got a job at a small daily in BFE Nevada ... the guy is doing everything under the sun (layout, photos, writing, etc.) ... that's what you want to do ...

    Keep doing your part-time gig until something becomes available at a daily (NO MATTER how tiny the daily circulation paper is) ... a weekly could be your ticket down the road when you're experienced enough for a management slot ...

    Good luck!
  4. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Again, you can't generalize. First, he never said he was a part-timer where he was, and I really doubt he would have moved that far from home for a 20 to 29-hour job. Second, is there really a difference in terms of support between a 20,000-circulation weekly and a 4,000-circulation 5-day daily? In either case, the best help you get is going to be the kind you give yourself. You have to drive yourself to write better and cleaner stories, get or produce better art, design pages better, because chances are that yes, the people around you may not be much help. But I've seen that at 20,000-circulation daily papers: bad habits are not the province of the non-daily.

    And the only feedback you ever get is usually from a parent, who's either thanking you for doing a story on their kid or bitching at you because you haven't done a story on their kid. You're not likely to fish for kudos at a non-daily or small daily -- you want notice from the bigger papers.

    And one thing that works in favor of weeklies: you can get a great deal of freedom to write what you want, and you'll probably end up writing more at a weekly than at a daily where you're the one-man shop, which means five nights of pagination.

    But every experience is a little different. I want to get back to a daily paper, have dropped resumes at daily papers, had an interview at a daily paper (in which they never got back to me after three months). If I get in, it'll be because I'm good enough. My future -- or lack thereof -- is totally in my hands.
  5. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    I went weekly (sports reporter/editor), twice weekly (sports reporter/editor), daily (sports reporter), thrice-weekly (sports editor, small part-time and freelance staff to manage and got to cover more "prestigious" beats than at the daily) and back to daily (sports reporter) closer to home and a bigger circulation and city than the first daily I was at.


    Anyway, the SE here told me, even though other people applied coming straight from another daily, he hired because of my writing and didn't care about where I'd come from.

    When you're at a weekly/twice-weekly, find some freelance and stringer work too. And, I dabbled in radio and TV at the same time.
  6. EGM67

    EGM67 New Member

    I write for a relatively small weekly where I do just about everything. I write three to four sports stories a week, a weekly sports column and I cover other local events. I also lay out six to eight pages per week and do photography. I have plenty to do and tons of opportunities to build a good clip file. I have also gotten the opportunity to make weekly sports radio appearances.

    Most of my feedback comes from readers, but I also have a larger daily in the area to compete with. While there is no way I can really compete with them, I would like to think that if I do a better job on one or two things here and there that my stuff will get noticed.

    Plus, I actually have a life outside of work. I go home at 5 every day unless I have a game or event to cover.

    So don't let the word "weekly" keep you from taking a good job.
  7. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    Every story is different. Here's a prime example of a good friend of mine and what happened with her.

    She started out as a school teacher, got into PR and eventually landed a job at a twice-a-week paper. She was a writer. After 10 years there, she went over to be the editor at a weekly nearby (owned by the same person). She was the editor of the weekly and after several attempts at getting on at the big daily (100K or so), she finally landed a job writing for their special sections (essentially advertorials). Shitty job. Within a year, they paper liked her so much, she was the features writer. A year later, she started writing a humor column. Within four years of coming to the big daily after having never worked at a daily before, she was the Features Editor of the paper. She'll probably be Assistant Managing Editor there soon. So does working at weekly preclude you from getting a job at a daily? No. Talent, however, will get you there.
  8. cityemployee

    cityemployee New Member

    There is a reason that people that work at weekly papers have trouble getting into a daily paper ... weekly writers are not use to working under daily deadline pressures ... I've seen this a ton of times, especially in sports ... do you think if you are covering a game of any sort and the game ends 30 minutes before a deadline, that pumping out a quality story is that easy ... yeah, good writing obviously helps ... but like I said a weekly is like an assembly line ... just churning out stories ... if you think just being a good writer is all you need to do to work at a daily, you are sadly mistaken.

    Maybe you can make it to a daily EVENTUALLY working at weekly ... but your route is much easier and quicker, working at a daily.
  9. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    Pressure is pressure. At a weekly, you're taking the photo, Photoshopping the photo, sometimes dummying the pages, always laying out the pages, proofing the pages, PDFing the pages for press, oh, and writing the stories.

    If you think weeklies are "just churning out stories" you are sadly mistaken. And insulting.

    If you can do all that and still publish one, twice or three times a week, I think you can write on deadline.
  10. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Yeah, I'm not sure what universe cityemployee lives in where you can do nothing but write, but in my little shop, everyone does some layout (I do quite a lot, actually). If anything, my stories have suffered because I'm trying to do the bare essentials for a number of papers, and as such I can't put a lot into a good story, even when I know it's out there.
  11. bballscribe

    bballscribe Member

    SoSueMe hit it right on the head....I'm not sure who came up with these generalizations of working at a weekly, but they're very off course.

    I worked at a daily for seven months and was great on deadline. Had no problem. Moved to a weekly as a SE (it was a step up) and better pay and it's a load of responsibility. I manage stringers, manage photos, write about 6-8 stories per week and layout the pages. It's more work than I ever did at a daily. I wrote about 4-5 stories per week at the daily, but I wanted somewhere with more responsibility and where I could write more. That's what I got at the weekly, as well as the challenge of competing with our major metro paper in coverage of our region.

    I do want to get back into a daily, but for now this is good experience. It'll show that I'm responsible, can write well and often, and that I am passionate towards what I do. For me, writing on deadline was never an issue so I don't see that as a problem.

    Plus, if you're that talented, your work will speak for itself. No one will judge you by if you write for a weekly or a daily. If you can are talented and can write and cover sports at a high level, you'll be hired. I don't regret moving from a daily to a weekly one bit.
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