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Is there a benefit to working at a PM daily?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Riddick, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Not really. When I worked at a PM, I had to be in the office by 5:30, which meant out the door by 5, which meant out of bed and into the shower by 4:45 or so.

    If you have a strictly-defined desk job, with consistent hours, it's manageable -- you simply let it be known to all your significant others that you have to be in bed by about 10.

    If you have a combo desk-writing job, it's a bitch, because sports events take place during the evening. Yeah, sure, you can go to a game at night, take your notes and quotes and stats and such, go home and crash, then get up in the morning and come in to the office and write -- but then you got deadline problems.

    When you're supposed to be off the floor by 10:30 a.m., that pushes final copy deadline to 9-9:30 a.m. Which means, if you roll into work at 5-6 a.m. with nothing written, you're going to be pushing it. And the first couple times you're a few minutes late on deadline, the M.E. is going to come up with the helpful suggestion, "why don't you write up that stuff at night, right after the game?" So then you're not getting to bed at 10, but at 11 or maybe midnight or 12:30. Which makes that 4:45 alarm clock pretty damn early.
  2. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    If you get in at 6 a.m. and the deadline is 9 a.m., that's an awfully long time. If you can't make that deadline, then, ...
  3. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    That's assuming that one game story is the only thing you have to write. Invariably, it isn't.
  4. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    You're right.I take back my comment. Never thought of it that way, as I've never worked for a PM. Sorry.
  5. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    We just made the switch from a PM to an AM. Our deadlines have been adjusted a couple of times. Right now, we're 11:30 p.m. Eastern. Basically, it means gamers are running copy topped with quotes, rather than gamers -- more play by play than game summation and analysis, which is the luxury you have with PM.
    Wire wise, it's a lot more hectic around deadline because stuff ends all at once. You have to priorize and grab and process as much as you can rather than get in depth roundup type stuff.
  6. The Duke

    The Duke Member

    There are still PM papers?
    My God!

    But I will say this, having started at a PM newspaper helped me learn how to take a pile of football stats, for instance, organize them and write a story about a really bad football game.

    But writing feature stories off games is the way to go for PMs. The game is sometimes 24 hours old by the time people read it.
  7. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    I think you still cover do a nice featurey game story for an AM daily too.
  8. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    A lot of the PM papers in this area are afternoon delivery and morning single copy sales. I don't think any of them work split shifts.

    I know one shop that has a really late deadline, like 2 or 3 a.m., and it's an afternoon paper (with morning single copy sales). That seems to be the way to go. The news side, apparently, can go that late but is usually out the door by midnight.

    It functions like a morning newspaper, but isn't delivered until the afternoon.

    I think that's how the Post-Crescent in Appleton (Wis.) works, but I could be wrong.
  9. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I worked for a short time for a paper that went from AM to U.S. mail delivery. It was a Tuesday-Saturday paper.

    It sucked royally. A football game from Friday night didn't make it in Saturday's edition because they only allowed people to work daytime hours and had an 8 p.m. deadline. That meant football gamers didn't apper until Tuesday afternoon.

    Needless to say, nobody read this paper for its sports coverage.
  10. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    I've been at a PM now for about a month. I'm a night owl, through and through, and the early morning schedule is killing me. Plus the office coffee sucks.

    But I don't mind the split schedule. I get up, do my pages, go home and have several hours to do whatever I want: go to the gym, watch World Cup games, nap if I need to, whatever. I'm thinking it's going to be really nice when I need to make doctor appointments or run errands or something - all the places will be open, and I won't have to cut out of work to do it.

    The day that's tough is Saturday (no Saturday paper but we do an AM Sunday)... covering events on Saturday morning, then hustle back to the office to put together pages and wait on results from other events. I've got the pressroom guys breathing down my neck because they want to get out of there at, oh, 4 p.m., but I want to get the Saturday evening results in. All told, it looks like I'll be working 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays.

    Will working at a PM paper hurt my career down the line? I sure as hell hope not.
  11. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    At my old paper, we did a 7 pm to 3 am (ET) shift. Not much happens after 3 am, plus the paper's presstime is 9:30 a.m. because they want to be out before the lunch crowd.
    If there was something going on early (Aussie Olympics, MLB in Japan), we would pop in to put it in.
    So basically, we ran it like an AM with no deadline.
  12. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    I don't think working at a PM, itself, will hurt your career. However, I do think the working schedule that results from a PM creates higher work stress and lower morale, which could hurt the quality of your work and consequently the clips package for the next job application.
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