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Has your career been that bad?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by copperpot, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. copperpot

    copperpot Well-Known Member

    I've been reading a lot on here about people lamenting the pay, the hours, etc., in this business. It made me wonder, are there people on here who've had mostly positive experiences in journalism? Because I have.

    My first job out of college was at a small family owned paper. Sure, I worked some nights and weekends, but I was paid pretty well, especially considering the cost of living for our area. My bosses were great. I got thoughtful, in-depth reviews, and when they wanted to keep me there, they offered me retention bonuses (I cashed in on one for $2,000 before leaving for my next job).

    My second paper was a somewhat foundering Ottaway shop. The pay was really good. I worked nights, but I had consistent hours and didn't have to work more than 40 hours. Bosses were solid if not great; rest of the crew was good.

    I took a year off after that to chase a dream of owning my own business, in part because I thought that would afford me much-needed opportunities to stay home when we decided to have kids (as my husband is in the biz, too, and was working nights then, too). The business stuff never fulfilled me like writing, editing and designing did. A couple of years ago I landed a PT layout gig at a chain of weeklies, and I've been able to do some writing, too. It's a pretty ideal situation, letting me still have a hand in papers and be home a lot with our little girl. My husband, meanwhile, has transitioned to more of a 10 to 6-ish schedule and we are able to have dinner together most nights, watch a game and play with the kid.

    I guess I'm just curious if others have similar stories, since it seems a lot of what I read on here seems to be so down on this industry. Don't get me wrong -- I know these are tough times for newspapers, and I'm doing the work right now that three people used to do. But I love newspapers and am very grateful to still have the chance to be employed by one, and I hope I am for years to come.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I have had a very positive experience. Just don't know if I will have a job next month or not.
  3. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    It's been good up to this point. I now have some added responsibility like last summer, so check back in about five weeks and I'll let you know.
  4. bmm

    bmm Member

    I love the interaction with other people - kids and coaches and the reasonable parents and fans. To see the eyes of a kid light up when you talk to him/her for the paper is cool. Going to games is not a bad gig at all, even though some of them are lesser sports I don't care for.

    The downside is the pay and hours (increasing with more work being thrown at you) and the feeling that no matter how hard you work that you won't be rewarded for it by your paper.
  5. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    In answer to the original question: Yes. But it's no one's fault but my own.
  6. silvercharm

    silvercharm Member

    There are few things I enjoy more than sitting down and doing a one-on-one interview. But if I were 20 right now and had to deal with all the gadgets it takes to do the job of a sports writer today -- even if the business was guaranteed to survive -- I'd do something else.
  7. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    OK, the pay sucks, the hours are long and there is often a feeling that management really doesn't care.

    But overall, there is nothing I'd rather do for a living than cover preps in my small-city environment. I get the joy of doing something artistic, in the sense of creating word pictures. I interact with young people on a regular basis, the vast majority of whom are good kids. I have a fair bit of status in the community from what I do, and I have made a lot of friends through my work. And I get to go to ball games for free and write stories about them.

    So, yeah, I'd say my career has been pretty good.
  8. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    For the overwhelming majority of it, my career was great. Outstanding. All I wanted and more.
    Then they started to fight when the money got tight *** and they just didn't count on the tears.

    Hell, I'd get back in for the right situation. Though the right situations are very few and very far between.
  9. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Here's the thing. I HAD a career. It was good. I was moving along and up. Five papers in five cities in five years. All better gigs at with better beats at better papers for better pay. I was making a career in sports reporting.

    Then, layoffs hit. I'm stuck in a news job as a GA reporter. Not my career choice. At all.

    So no, it had not been a bad career.

    Unfortunately, it's now become a job; a paycheck. And, sadly, I'm not sure I can make a career of this news thing. I don't enjoy it as much. I'm not as driven. With sports, I knew I wanted a pro beat. I knew I wanted to cover certain things. So I kept working at my craft in order to one day (hopefully) attain those beats, those jobs, etc.

    Now, I just bang out two news stories a day. I'm not saying I mail it in, because I don't. I just don't write each piece with the hopes of putting it in my portfolio to wow some SE or ME at some bigger and better paper down the road.
  10. bob

    bob Member

    I think you might find that we veterans, who've been in the business for more than 20 years, will say that it's generally been a great gig. But perhaps those of you who haven't, who've only seen the down side of the industry over the last decade, might not feel so positive about your careers.
  11. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    It wasn't a bad career. But among working with a bad SE, then a bad publisher who treated his employees horribly, then seeing what has happened to this industry - and the poor manner in which the beancounters, suits and executives have conducted themselves - is going to leave some harsh feelings. I'd like back in if the companies ever commit to putting out a top-notch product and taking care of their employees again. Not banking on that anytime soon.

    That can be portrayed as a glass-half-empty approach. It's also honest in many, many cases.
  12. Ah, Brenda and Eddie. And they had it already by the summer of '75.
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