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High School Sports Writer -- ETSN.fm (Tyler, Texas)

Discussion in 'Journalism Jobs' started by chase.colston, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. chase.colston

    chase.colston Member

    Howdy! I thought I'd drop in a job posting here for a writer position for a little ol' local high school sports website here in Tyler, Texas. This is the first time I've had to hire anybody who wasn't here when this website started, so here goes nothing.

    I have done my best to answer any questions now rather than later or to folks one at a time. It's fairly lengthy, but if you're interested, hopefully I answered most or all your questions ahead of time.

    I look forward to hearing from y'all.

    Sports Writer: ETSN.fm - Tyler, Texas

    ETSN.fm (East Texas Sports Network) is the best source for high school sports information in East Texas. Despite being live for just 18 months, ETSN.fm has grown to become the most trafficked source for local sports in the region. We are a kickass online-only operation that is part of an even bigger kickass digital operation for one of the fastest-growing companies in the nation -- and we’re hiring.

    ETSN.fm is looking for a full-time, passionate workaholic to join our staff as a sports writer. One of our writers has taken an awesome job with a national network that we told him we’d apply for it if he turned it down, so we have some big shoes to fill.

    This job is based in Tyler, Texas, where you will be responsible for covering all high school sports in East Texas, and you will do so working for a site that in a short amount of time has built itself to become the strongest local sports brand in our region.

    You don’t have to be told – high school football is the Mack-daddy here. Our area has produced (and our staff has covered many of these) names such as Adrian Peterson, Dez Bryant, Jermichael Finley, Brandon Pettigrew, Aaron Ross, Chris Ivory, Denarius Moore, Kendall Hunter, Kendall Wright, Trent Williams and old school names such as Earl Campbell, Y.A. Tittle, Don Meredith, Billy Sims, David Overstreet, Lovie Smith, Forrest Gregg and Bobby Taylor.

    The greatest high school football game of all-time – John Tyler vs. Plano East in 1994 – involved one of our schools (JT). Schools in our coverage area have won a combined 28 state titles since 2000.

    While football is the bee’s knees, we also take the same approach to all sports we cover, be it volleyball, baseball, soccer, whatever. We are an outlet that is constantly regarded as the premier example of a local sports website, and we want to continue to build on our reputation.

    So, what’s the deal with this job? Here are some questions we can answer now and not later.

    Who the hell are you? ETSN.fm is an online-only high school sports website owned by parent company Townsquare Media. Townsquare Media is the third-largest radio company in America, owning 312 radio stations in 77 small and medium-sized markets. ETSN.fm is based in Townsquare Media’s Tyler-Longview market, which is home to four of the top-rated radio stations in the region.

    What the hell does radio have to do with this site? We don’t even have a sports radio station in our cluster in Tyler, but we saw a need for strictly an online-only local sports outlet in Tyler and all over East Texas. We are a group of former newspaper folks who have a passion for community sports, and we are the best at it in East Texas. We also use our four radio stations as powerful marketing resources to promote ETSN.fm and as a vehicle for our advertisers.

    Is this place like a newspaper sports department without the paper? Nope. We’re not jaded. We don’t come to work every day wondering if we’re going to have a job by the time the execs go home at 4:45 p.m. We don’t have deadlines. We don’t compete with the local newspapers and couldn’t care less about what they think of us. We work for a strong, viable digital-first company that is making big waves with its digital endeavors. Our job is to work our hardest at what we do. We’ve had a great 18 months, but we no longer care about that. We want to be bigger, faster and stronger in year two and beyond. You would be the first guy to work here who wasn’t here when this site launched, so you’ll be a part of something that’s very important to a group of people that has put a lot of their lives into this product. Taking on that kind of mentality is crucial, and it’s an opportunity not provided in today’s world of newspapers.

    What all does this job involve? Everything. Writing, stats, standings, blogging, social media, agate-clerking … anything you can imagine.

    What does this job not involve? Designing, paginating, hitting a press deadline, makeovers, furloughs, huge health insurance deductibles, etc.

    How many schools do you cover? 128.

    How big is the staff? You’ll be one of two writers, a photographer and an editor.

    How the hell do you cover that many schools with that small of a staff? Not gonna lie – we work our asses off. But ETSN.fm is something we’re extremely proud of. We also have a large network of freelancers. It’s tough to cover that big of an area, but we work hard to be the best at it. It helps when all of your focus is on your coverage and not editing, hitting a press deadline and figuring out when your next furlough is going to be.

    If this place is so great, why did someone leave after a year and a half? We can’t speak for him, but what we can say is it didn’t take long for the work he did at ETSN.fm to get noticed.

    What the hell does this job pay? It pays $32,000. Sure, we’d like it to be more, but that’s what it is. If you ask later, that’s still what it pays. If you’re offered the job and you tell us you’ll take it for more money, that’s still what it pays (for now).

    How can you prove you’re not like a newspaper? Thought you’d never ask.
    o If you do a kickass job and our sales folks continue to sell ETSN.fm, we give raises around here.
    o They’re not Facebook-good, but we have good benefits. We have health, dental and vision, and it won’t kill your bank account. If you’re single with no kids, health, dental and vision runs about $160/month for a $1,750 health deductible. ETSN.fm’s editor is married, and he pays $265/month for health, dental and vision for both.
    o Said it before, but we don’t come to work every day wondering if it’s the end. We’re a rapidly growing national company, and ETSN.fm is one of its proudest products. This model will soon be expanded to other markets in our company. Townsquare Media isn’t in the business of slashing and burning like other “radio” companies. Mostly because we’re not just a radio company.
    o We have a good time. We’re family. We go to parties at each other’s house, come up with our best ideas over a beer, play Madden together and have company events that are pretty sweet, too.

    What’s Tyler like? We voted in beer and wine in Nov. 2012, so it’s better than it used to be. Still too many damn Republicans, though.

    Cost of living? Let’s just say you won’t need a roommate, unless you really want one. A decent one-bedroom apartment will be in the $550-750 range, depending on where you live. There’s also no state income tax here.

    Will you cover relocation? At this point, I honestly cannot answer that question. We’ll go down that road if/when it arises.

    What is required of me for this job?
    o Don’t have a newspaper mentality, and don’t come in thinking we operate like one. We don’t.
    o Have a sense of humor for God’s sake. You may not think this job posting is funny, but at least pretend like it if you’re interviewed for this job.
    o Have a passion for storytelling, but don’t be afraid to do a ton of busy work, too. We don’t have agate clerks.
    o Experience covering recruiting, especially football, will help you move to the front of the line.
    o Be a great writer, but aspire to be greater. Being content is not something we aspire to here.
    o Be all about social media. ETSN.fm is not only enormously popular with mom, dad, Mimi and Papa, but just as much with the kids and athletes. We’re all about the social media life, be it Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, etc.
    o Be comfortable being on-air, be it radio or TV. We do a weekly podcast and also partner with a local TV station.

    What CMS do you use? Wordpress. It’s highly customized, and we love it. Most of the time.

    How much experience do I need? Don’t care if you’re 22 or 72. If you fit in all that up there, we want you.

    What if I have more questions? Email chase.colston@townsquaremedia.com. Please do not call.

    How do I apply? Email a cover letter, resume and a few writing samples to chase.colston@townsquaremedia.com.
     
  2. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Member

    I can vouch and say the folks at ETSN are really good people, and they do a tremendous job of covering East Texas high schools. If they're adding another writer spot, that'd be huge considering they're trying something completely new. Definitely a solid gig.
     
  3. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    What other markets (preferably ones without so many Republicans) do you plan to expand to in the near future (1-2 years)?

    Should we assume it's OK to use the adjective "kickass" in the copy, as you did here?
     
  4. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    You guys are expanding? Mazel gov!
     
  5. LesJ9488

    LesJ9488 Member

    In the fifth graph: "One of our writers has taken an awesome job with a national network that we told him we’d apply for it if he turned it down, so we have some big shoes to fill. "

    They aren't expanding (yet). They just lost a writer and need to replace him.
     
  6. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Thanks. There were many paragraphs. Glossed over that one to see what the bolded grafs said.
     
  7. chase.colston

    chase.colston Member

    Hey Mark,

    Townsquare Media has stations in 66 markets around the country, and we're taking it on an individual market's desires first on whether to expand there.

    We have Texas markets in Killeen-Temple, Abilene, Midland-Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock, El Paso, Wichita Falls and Victoria, in addition to ours in Tyler-Longview, Lufkin and Texarkana (the three markets ETSN.fm covers). Ideally we will expand first in our Texas markets, conceivably in the next two years.

    Beyond that is still up in the air.

    Resume-wise, use "kickass" all you want. Copy-wise ... maybe in a direct quote. :)

    And to clarify, this job is replacing one of our current people. I am looking to add a position in 2015, but this isn't an added job as of yet.

    I've gotten a lot of great applicants already. We are going to move fast on this one, so get them in sooner than later. I'm going to give it about a week before I start talking to folks.
     
  8. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Don't know chase or the guy who left other than through online means, but I do know they do kickass work and are very passionate about what they do. Sounds like a great gig.
     
  9. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    I don't know any of the guys that work/worked there personally, but I've been following ETSN on twitter for quite some time now. If there was ever a gig that has seriously ever made me think about quitting my job, this is it. These guys are solid, and in the short time they've been around have earned quite a bit of respect.
    Heck if I knew for certain that raises were a given, then they would already have an advantage over my current gig. But right now the pay cut wouldn't be worth it (nor would the benefits...I pay less than $30 a month for health/dental/vision)
    And Townsquare does seem to be a company that is growing strong. This really does sound like a good gig for the right person.
     
  10. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Townsquare got a bunch of stations from Cumulus (?) in the Westwood One swap, iirc.
     
  11. mltru2tx

    mltru2tx Member

    As someone who's covered games with these guys before and has seen their work, it's very legit. If I wasn't settled with a house and a newborn, I'd consider it. Well, and if it wasn't in Tyler, but that's a personal choice. I talked with one of their guys at a game last year when this had first launch, and he was very fired up about it. It sounded like it was going to be great, and it seems like it's been living up to his expectations. Good luck to whoever applies.
     
  12. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    The site is quite impressive. Lots of event stories, recruiting, a couple of features, etc. Same stuff you would find in a good paper. If high school sports are one's thing and you like that area, it looks like a pretty good gig. Have no idea about the financial or the parent company, but the product looks good.
     
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