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How Safe Am I? Or You, For That Matter?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pete Incaviglia, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Okay. I know I keep posting on other threads that I want out. However, if I could, I would stay in the business for life.

    Here's my question, how safe am I? Or, how safe are you, for that matter?

    Here's my brief bio:
    I'm 32
    10 consecutive years in print.
    Now covering college football at mid-sized daily.
    More than midway up the seniority ladder, including copy editors and news reporters (all of whom I could bump if layoffs came)
    Experience in hosting sports talk (two, one-year stints as a Friday host).
    Expecience in play-by-play.
    Web savvy enough to survive the changes happening.

    My question is - and yes, I know there is no crystal ball - could I last another 30 years in the newspaper business, or whatever it becomes?

    Or, should I be looking outside - at SID jobs (I'm currently pursuing one), PR work (I have a contact there, too)?

    Your thoughts and/or feelings?
  2. Tucsondriver

    Tucsondriver Member

    Hey Pete, Aside from the job insecurity, sounds like you have a pretty sweet situation. Don't know about the dough, but you're on a career path kids grow up dreaming about. Nobody in fifth grade says they want to be an SID or a press flack. Nobody can predict the future, but I think a reasonable person has to assume that we're swimming in some pretty perilous waters, and although I'm no expert, hard to imagine the credit crisis won't make things even worse. Anyway, it sounds like you've answered your own question as far as looking outside. I'd keep doing what you're doing. Keep the college beat and put out feelers for PR work. Just because somebody offers you a flack job, doesn't mean you have to take it. And by looking for work outside print, you'll be ahead of the game if the axe falls. There are some pretty cool PR jobs out there, and with any luck you may stumble into one that offers money, security and perks that would make walking away from the college beat an easy move. Stay positive and enjoy the college beat while you've got it. Hope it works however it shakes out.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Who really knows. If the axe starts flailing do you want to trust your future on the wisdom of people doing the cutting?

    I would keep looking as you are doing and bolt if you find something you can stomach.

    My 2 cents.
  4. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    WFW. It's the people running this business that have me convinced to go, not the profession or the work or the dwindling audience or the technology itself. The journalists always have been at the mercy of the business guys or the top editors who bow down to them, and the business guys have turned rotten, greedy and more inept than before. Even as all these outside challenges confront us. Bad combo.

    I'm not optimistic enough to try to hang on for another 15 years, though I think some papers (the biggest/national ones and the smallish dailies) will survive. Not given the poor leadership I've seen.

    To continue looking is a good idea. Meanwhile, hang on until you can't anymore.
  5. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Joe, I couldn't agree with your first paragraph more. It perfectly describes why I want out. All these decisions to cut, cut, cut and cause our work/stories to suffer are what have me looking outside. That's the thing, I LOVE my beat. But the frustration in management, direction and the future just drag me down.
  6. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    You are young enough to switch now/soon and make a real go of it in another arena. Then again, if you hang on long enough, maybe your career will take a back seat to other stuff in your life and these things won't frustrate you as much. Then again, you might kick yourself for not getting out ahead of the pack and finding something that treats you and yours better and has more long-term security. Then again, all your friends in other fields might think you should have milked this as long as you could have. Then again, the entire house of cards that is newspapers could tumble in 1,357 tomorrows...

    No wonder this makes us so nuts.

    But I still would follow a great, committed executive editor who put the work first (and had my back) into a burning freaking building.
  7. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

  8. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    It's a tough call.
    newspapers aren't the only businesses suffering big-time out there.
    PR work can be dicey, and is SID pay that much more than you make now? The hours SIDs put in can be just as bad, or worse, than newspapers.
    I think it comes down to how much you love what you're doing, you're work environment and where you want to be a few years down the road.
  9. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    I've long since decided I'm going down with the ship. I have trouble believing that sportswriting, in some for or fashion, is going to go away.

    People still crave information about their favorite teams. It's just the delivery method that is changing. Seems if there is a demand for something, there is a way to monetize it.

    And if I'm wrong? Well, I'll get laid off one day, and I'll figure it out from there.
  10. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    I have 23 years at my shop. Have never even used a sick day. Versatile enough to work anywhere on our desk (design, copy editing, slot, special section) depending on staffing needs.

    And I have zero confidence I will be employed at this place by this time next year.
  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    If there are more than 100 people left in the newspaper industry who are completely safe, I'd be surprised. We're talking about the rare columnists or beat writers who are the face of the section like Whitlock in KC or Paige in Denver or Albom in Detroit.

    If you think you're safe, you're wrong.
  12. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Staying in this business is like playing your way back down through the minors, without ever having to pack or forward your mail.

    Maybe you were good enough and fortunate enough to make it to the big leagues of newspapering. Then your place started to do things in a Triple A way, in terms of space, travel or staffing. In time, you find your shop has gone for a Double A approach and now you're being told that Class A (hyperlocal) is the way to go. And the more you're paid, the less they want to keep you around.

    Crash Davis makes it to The Show, and then they swap out his new team with the Bulls anyway. Or the Bad News Bears.
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