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Lead sports designer, The Oklahoman

Discussion in 'Journalism Jobs' started by msherman, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. msherman

    msherman New Member

    The Oklahoman has an immediate opening for a lead sports designer with exceptional organization skills, solid news judgment and an eye for strong visuals.
    You will be given the chance to lead, oversee and improve our presentation on a nightly basis.
    The person hired for this position will demonstrate:
    -- The ability to produce clean, engaging pages and special sections.
    -- The ability to tell great still photo stories.
    -- The ability to plan with writers, editors and designers.
    -- An eagerness to come up with and share your own story ideas that will make us better.
    -- A willingness to give and take feedback that will improve our section.
    -- Strong performance on a tight deadline.
    -- Section editing, centerpiece design and news judgment skills that reflect and respond to reader interest and news of the day.
    -- The ability to give a purpose to every element.
    -- A willingness to develop the skills needed to tell stories across all platforms.

    The Oklahoman is a 285,000 Sunday circulation paper in one of the strongest college sports markets in the country. Since 2000, we have covered three BCS title games and two Final Fours. The NCAA Women's Tournament will stop in Oklahoma City the next two springs, and the Big 12 Basketball Tournament will be back for the second time next March. The NBA is right around the corner.
    The Oklahoman is coming off an APSE contest in which we finished in the Top 10 in special sections, Top 20 in Sunday sections and won two writing awards in columns and features.

    Applicants should send a resume, 6-10 clips (any format will work) and a cover letter to sports editor Mike Sherman at msherman@oklahoman.com or P.O. Box 25125, Oklahoma City, OK 73125.
  2. wannabeu

    wannabeu Member

    It's a great sports market. The paper isn't all that though. It's OK for its size. They have gone through several staff changes over the past several years and I know the work atmosphere there is crappy. They treat their employees like shit, which I guess in this day and age in newspapers isn't a surprise. But with the way the job market is, there is no such thing as a perfect job out there. There are pros and cons to every paper.
  3. jcrutchmer

    jcrutchmer Guest

    That's a patently false statement.

    You can find people who love their jobs there. You can find people who hate them, and you can find everybody in between -- just like you can at my shop, your shop, your friend's and your enemy's. ... But it's absolutely inaccurate to say they treat their employees like sh*t.

    * Their editor, publisher and company president are all some of the most accessible execs at any paper, anywhere.
    * Their benefits pound most chains' benefits into the dirt.
    * In that department, you'll feel like your ideas are given a chance.
    * You'll feel like you have a stake in the section -- as much of a stake or as little of a stake as you so desire.
    * In this position, you'll have the opportunity to shape and direct the big-picture and little-picture things. You think the football preview should be themed around margarine brands? Sell it. You'll get that shot.

    Now, you may find all the above to be the statements of fact they are and still not like it. You may feel conflicted or at odds with something -- could be people, the market, the demands. All those are possible, but I honestly think those are possible anywhere. I know it's in the realm of possibility any place I've worked, in any field.

    I worked there for six years and held this job for a while. PM me or e-mail me at jscrutchmer@yahoo.com and I'll be happy to elaborate.
  4. wannabeu

    wannabeu Member

    I grew up in the Oklahoma City metro and I know some of the people that work there, some in the sports department. From the people that I have heard from, and they are credible, it's a bad atmosphere in that section.
    Yes, it's true what Mr. Crutchmer has said about the benefits. They are great. But from what I have heard from friends and former co-workers while at other papers, they do not treat everyone well.
    It is true at most places that some people love their jobs and some people don't. Now I am just expressing what I have heard from the various people I know. Mr. Crutchmer might know more since he worked there for six years. I just wanted to give my knowledge of the situation.
  5. Bill_Bradley

    Bill_Bradley Member

    First, a disclaimer: Mike Sherman is a good friend of mine. I've known him for almost a decade.

    This doesn't need a disclaimer: Mike Sherman has earned a reputation among his peers in the past five years as one of the savviest sports editors around, no matter the size of the market. He's inventive and, as Josh said, he listens to his staff. He plans and thinks about this business like a demon. Like anyone in this biz, I'm sure his ideas don't please everyone on the staff, but he is one of those SE's that thinks of the readers first. We talk shop often and I continually find him challenging me.

    That said, after working beside him in Nashville, I can't imagine him running a section has a "bad atmosphere." I'm sure he has some bad apples, but I think if someone is looking for a design job and they wanted to be challenged, this would be a great move.

  6. OrangeGrad

    OrangeGrad Member

    Mike is one of the nicest guys I've met in this business. Just an all-around good guy. If I could desgin worth a shit, I'd jump at this.
  7. jcrutchmer

    jcrutchmer Guest

    That's a fair way to put it. People are entitled to their opinions, and in almost all cases, there is certainly a REASON for those opinions and they should not be dismissed. But I feel more comfortable casting it in those terms then painting it with an "all bad" broad brush.

    Few things in my career have been as fun -- or rewarding -- as some of the special sections and big events I got to be a part of there, while holding this position. Spending full shifts driving around most of the state looking for some prop or some location just to nail a centerpiece or special section photo. Sitting across from Mike Strain and later Matt Clayton and swapping Simpsons one-liners until tears rolled down our faces. The Best of Sports Design competition that we do at sportsdesigner.com was actually an idea that the deputy SE in OKC had.

    Now, the flip side to that would be: I left the paper. People don't leave utopias, and I don't want to come across like that's what I'm describing. ... We know reality is neither the best of what I said nor the worst of what you said. I just didn't want the only things said about this paper to be bad ones.

    My opinion is: You will have the opportunity to be happy in this job. I'm not saying you'll get there, and I'm not twisting that to imply it'll be your fault if you don't. I'm simply stating, as fairly and as straightforward as I believe, that you will have the opportunity to be happy in this job.

    -- Josh Crutchmer
    Omaha World-Herald
  8. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    So it's changed in the nine years since CJR named it "the worst newspaper in America?"

  9. Bill_Bradley

    Bill_Bradley Member

    Yes, it has ... a long way. They made an effort to change that image after the CJR article, and one of them was hiring Mike.

    It's a very creative place, from the way they cover stories to the way they design their sections. After all, how many places preview a major college football rivalry (OU vs. OSU) with an actual folded road map ... Josh, I believe can confirm this.
  10. wannabeu

    wannabeu Member

    That was more because of the news section and the political views of the paper. I still don't think the paper is very good overall (which is why people still call it The Jokelahoman). But the sports section has always been decent. Much better than the rest of the paper. Heck, they have one of the best sports writers around in Mr. Tramel.
  11. jcrutchmer

    jcrutchmer Guest

    In 1999, Knight-Ridder was the best newspaper chain in America.

    In 1999, I paid 72 cents a gallon for gas.

    In 1999, nobody had ever heard of the galleryfurniture.com bowl.

    The CJR article wasn't far off when it ran -- though the article's writer and paper had sparred before -- but it did run in 1999. Different now than in 1999 are the company CEO, publisher, ad director, editor, executive editor, managing editor, sports editor and five assistant sports editors. Take the article for what it is, for sure, but it's not the same place today.
  12. wannabeu

    wannabeu Member

    There's much better and much worse places to be than The Oklahoman. Like Mr. Crutchmer said, it has its good and bad. Similar to most newspapers.
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