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Life after journalism

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by inkfingers, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. inkfingers

    inkfingers Member

    Here goes ... my maiden post.

    I'm in my 40s, with 25 years invested in this business, as a sportswriter and now on the desk. There are worse places to be than the family-owned paper I'm at, but certainly we're no strangers to belt-tightening and staff reductions. Lots of kids in the office now, fewer and fewer "seasoned" folks. So, like many on this board I'm sure, I'm thinking about life after journalism, be it forced on me or of my choosing. I'm wondering what people do when they get out. PR? Web sites? An office cleaning franchise? How are people transitioning to the afterlife?
  2. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    This comes up often. Can we sticky it?
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    PR/media relations/flakdom/whatever you want to call it for me and it is wonderful.
    I still miss my staff a whole lot.
    I still don't miss the job one iota.

    It's an interesting world out there on the outside. I left not long after an almost-30 type who was talking about those who left before us for jobs that paid more. The skills it takes to be a good journalist, particularly the organizational skills and work ethic, make us very valuable to lots of companies. There's at least five from the paper working at VCU in some capacity now, with more to come.

    If you had told me five, three, even two years ago that I'd be ridiculously happy outside journalism, I would have said you were nuts. No, I was nuts.
  4. Hustle

    Hustle Guest

    Ink: If you're near any sort of city, chances are that city will have a variety of organizations and interest groups. It could be a chamber of commerce or it could be something more specialized (AARP, for instance). Those that have more than a couple of employees will likely need someone to write and edit newsletters, quarterly reports and who knows what else. Someone's got to write it all and someone has to edit all of the submitted stuff.

    In the DC area, obviously, there's one of these on virtually every street corner: National Confectioners Association, National Club Association, National Association of Public Hospitals, Association for Corporate Travel Executives... on and on. Unlike our industry, many of these places are adding jobs and outgrowing their current offices.

    Most other cities probably won't have the laundry list of associations as DC does, but there's bound to be at least a couple even in mid-sized cities.
  5. captzulu

    captzulu Member


    If you're near a university, check its job boards. Check your state/local government's job boards. Identify the biggest employers in your area and check their sites. Go on Monster, careerbuilder, or craigslist and search for something like "writing" or "editing".

    I've been out for two and a half years and have no regrets. Sometimes I miss the work, and I always miss the people, but anytime I even remotely entertain the idea of going back, a McClatchy or a Tribune bomb goes off and reminds me how happy I am to be out of the biz now.
  6. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    Another option is the Chinese menu approach to employment . . . a little from column A, a little from column B, etc.

    There may not be a lot of boffo jobs available in your chosen field, but some of us have found a way to get by just fine by combining two or more jobs. While the money doesn't add up yet to what I'd like it to be, it's close. And I'm getting to do interesting things with interesting people by combining a couple of web endeavors with a little bit of freelancing and even a little bit of PR work.

    All told, it's only adding up to 40-45 hours a week, which is a comfortable pace. And, unlike the newspaper biz, prospects like bright (or at least sustainable) in all facets of this mish-mash.
  7. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    If you're combining jobs to get 40-45 hours...I'm assuming you don't have benefits?
  8. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    That's correct. But being single and healthy, I'm not paying an enormous amount to get coverage on my own.
  9. inkfingers

    inkfingers Member

    Oh no, did I break a rule of etiquette? If so, sorry. I did look around to see if the topic was active on the board, but maybe I didn't look hard enough. I feel like such a freshman.

    As some have indicated, there do seem to be some viable, and even fulfilling, options in the afterlife, scary as they may be to a "lifer" such as myself. I mean, this is all I've ever done, since age 18. My whole resume is newspapers. I look at PR, and web design, and I see how my experience editing and slotting would be in the same ballpark. But it's intimidating to consider reinventing yourself so late in the game. I suppose the alternative, the iceberg closing in on the bow, is more intimidating.
  10. Mediator

    Mediator Member

    My Plan B is teaching. After years of panting after deadline, I want (I hope) mutually fulfilling interactions with hopeful young people. Or cynical young people like I was. And I want a schedule that respects balance.
  11. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    I feel your pain and hear your angst. I'm in a situation similar to yours.
    All of the above suggestions are good. Also, talk with any contacts you might have made while writing. You more than likely have their respect and they might be able to open doors.
    Just remember it's not so much you're makng this decision. The biz is forcing many folks to consider the future, reconsider their careers. Before you are forced out, be proactive in searching for alternatives. Beats the hell out of unemployment.
  12. agateguy

    agateguy Member


    I'm a newbie myself (and also a long-time lurker), and I agree that this topic should be a subject of ongoing discussion here.

    I'm reading and learning because I don't want to assume that my current employer will never cut jobs in my department, nor that I would never be in that category.

    I've invested in a copy of Richard Bolles' What Color Is Your Parachute? and in glancing through it have already found it to be worth every penny.
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