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Industry question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by NQLBLQ, Sep 18, 2008.


    NQLBLQ Member

    Another young kid here - sorry if you are tired of reading about us.

    Anyway, I wrote for my college paper for two years as a columnist / reporter (won a few awards) and I was even sports editor for a half a year (one day, ours decided to quit). But everywhere I apply I never hear back. I rarely even get a “thanks for applying” e-mail

    I understand that the industry is dying and I’m starting to think about finding another career path but I was wondering how likely it is to get a job in newspapers once you leave the industry.

    Someone once told me the newspaper industry is like baseball – you start in the minors and move to the pros. If you stop “playing” for any period of time, it makes it that much harder to start again.

    Is that true? Or have I been fed a steamy pot of lies?
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    For the most part, what you were told was true, but you should still run to the registrar office ASAP and change your major and career path.
  3. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    What kinds of places are you applying, and for what kinds of gigs?
  4. Wonderlic

    Wonderlic Member

    1) It is easier to find a job in this business - which on a daily basis is increasingly more difficult to crack into AND move up in - if you're already in it.

    2) College newspaper experience means next to nothing.

    3) :p
  5. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    While that apparently is generally the case, I've made a not-terrible career out of it and I never had a single clip outside of my college paper until a year after college when I got my first full-time job.

    NQLBLQ Member

    Mizzou - I graduated a month ago (degree is Earth Science)

    IJAG - Small daily's and weekly's. Mostly as a reporter though I have tried for some editor positions at weekly's. Sadly, I think I have applied at every job at circ's below 20,000 that I have seen. But it is nice to know that, even after a year, you finally got a gig.

    Wonderlic - I should add that I spent the last 3 months as editor reporting on and writing every article, designing pages, doing layout and taking the photos.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Typically, the more dues you pay in college, the less you'll have to pay after you graduate.

    If you're dead set on going into journalism, more power to you. But get your degree in something else on the off-chance that it doesn't work out.
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Earth science is solid. Go back and get your teaching certificate or Masters and freelance on the side.

    NQLBLQ Member

    Yea, teaching was the original plan... but my GPA slipped (damn!) and now I can't get into a decent program.

    Thanks for the insight, too. I never thought about simply freelancing.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Right now I would tell everyone going into journalism to just make sure they have a very solid back up plan.

    Your best move was not majoring in journalism.
  11. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member


    Allow me to bore you with my career arc.

    I joined the school paper in the second semester of my freshman year after sending in numerous letters to the editor about how terribly liberal a rag it was. I came in, started with a baseball season preview. Eventually took on the men's soccer beat. Never was offered, never wanted, the football or basketball beats. Loved my men's soccer beat.

    About halfway through my senior year, I decided I didn't want to be in newspapers. The hours were erratic, the work incessant, and the idea of a 9-5 job with every weekend off sounded really good. However, I couldn't find a job doing any of that either despite nearly three years experience as an assistant manager at a pizza joint (which is why I never did internships...couldn't afford to take a summer off work). So I went to a temp agency, which placed me at an equine insurance adjuster's office.

    I typed up reports about insurance claims ranging from impotent bulls to alpacas struck by lightning to horses with laminitis. There was no computer, just a word processor, and my boss (it was just him and I there) went into a personal funk and just wasn't doing any work. So I sat alone in the front room, looking out the window and doing word finds for 8 hours a day.

    I looked in the want ads one time, and found two newspapers within about 45 minutes hiring. I applied at both those, and also one out in the mountains. I was offered all three, and took the daily job. It was a 12K PM paper, and I was one of two reporters under a long-time SE. I learned a lot there (had never designed before) and really loved every bit of it except one coworker.

    I had made some contacts, and one of them called to see if I'd be interested in applying for a job at a much larger paper. I had virtually no experience writing about what I'd be covering, but I was just going to be a backup while doing mostly desk. That changed after about a year and a half, and I became mostly a writer. I feel I grew into it as much as I could, and my boss was always very complimentary of the job I was doing.

    Then, my current job came about. Again, it was about connections. And now, I'm a full-time editor. In less than nine years, I've gone from typing about impotent bulls to a job I'm (so far) pretty enamored with.

    Long story short, I would advise getting in anywhere you can, then busting ass to move up if journalism is what you want to do.

    I can't say, if I knew then what I know now about the business, that I would have done the same thing I did. So just, I guess, go into it with your eyes wide open and think long term.
  12. Wonderlic

    Wonderlic Member

    I didn't have any published clips when I landed my first full-time writing job a year out of college. I used "articles" I had written for class assignments.
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