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Looking to get started...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ghtd36, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. ghtd36

    ghtd36 New Member

    Hey there STers. I need some advice.

    My name is Greg, and I'm a senior journalism major at the University of Missouri. I'll be graduating in May, so the job search is now beginning for me.

    I have pretty good internship experience (sports department at the Tulsa World in summer 2006, sports department at The Dallas Morning News in fall 2007), and I have some great references as a result. I've also got a nice collection of clips going, including a couple "showcase" clips that I'm particularly proud of.

    So, I guess the question is...what do I do now? I've got enough time on my hands now to get some major searching done, but I honestly don't know where to start. Can anyone give some advice to someone trying to break into the business?
  2. Bob Slydell

    Bob Slydell Active Member

    And away we go!!!!

    Do you not read this site and see how miserable most of us are? Run away fast son.
  3. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Ditto that. Set your computer to block this site.

    Some of us rancid bastards will try to scare you off the business.

    Some of us will try to sucker you in, because misery loves company and we don't want to see you have a better life than we've had.

    Some of us jolly jokers will welcome you with open arms, because we're too clueless to know how bad and future-less we really have it.

    Some of us will try to discourage you, because this field is crowded and competitive enough already and we don't need more kids willing to work for entry-level money.

    That leaves a few of us who will sincere-up for you and actually help. But you should know right now that group is a distinct minority.

    Or just someone trying to hire you cheap.
  4. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Active Member

    I'd say the key things you'd want to do between now and may is continue to write and network.

    I don't know if you're at the Missourian next semester, but if you're not try to do some stringing to stay fresh. See if Dallas or Tulsa wants you to cover some MU stuff for them.

    I read on Joe Grimm's recruiting Q&A that you shouldn't start applying for jobs until a month before graduation / the end of an internship. I graduated in May, had an internship and followed that advice. Applying and accepting a job usually takes a month (if not longer) by the time you send a paper a job app, get a phone interview, go to the place for an interview, and get the job offer. There is no point in applying for jobs now and wasting editors time when you can't start until mid May.

    In the mean time you can network. Take advantage of the people at MU and their resources. I e-mailed some sports people on a list serve and asked them a few questions similar to yours. Some of those people said they would look at my resume and clips. Also, keep in contact with your Dallas and Tulsa coworkers. Ask them the same questions you asked us and have them look at your resume and clips. You might not get hired at either place right away, but those editors and coworkers should know people at smaller papers and could put in a good word for you.

    Do you care where your first job is? I would pick a few parts of the country you might want to move and look up all the papers in that area then e-mail the SE's at those shops. If you don't care where you want to live, then pick some papers you'd like to work for. Send them an intro letter saying you are interested in possibly moving to the area/working for that paper and wondered if they would take a look at your clips and resume. That way you get your name out there and if they have an opening closer to graduation you might be on top of their list. Also, ask them some questions about the industry. They should have tips for you about your search and could guide you to other people to talk to.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    So what is it you want to do?

    Do you have any experience other than writing?

    Can you shoot video, take photos, do podcasts, that sort of thing?
  6. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Active Member

    Good questions, Ace.

    A few things I can add to that is even if you don't like copy editing or designing, learn those skills. From my job search I learned that it's pretty hard to get a reporting only job right off the bat, unless you're an effin' stud. Most entry level jobs will have you doing it all. Reporting a few nights a week, designing a few nights a week, doing the agate / scoreboard page, and maybe even taking photos. The more you can do to make yourself more diverse / well rounded, the better.

    Take advantage of the opps at Mizzou for making your stories convergence. The web is the present and future of the industry, so the more tech skills you can bring to a paper the more hireable you become.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If I were you, I would try to snag another big-paper internship if you can, if no mid-to-big paper openings are to be had.

    If you do a good job and the folks know you are ready to go to work, chances of sticking there are better.
  8. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Don't think you're going to get a job at a 100K or higher right away. Be prepared to work your way up and don't expect everything to be handed to you just because you went to Missouri.
  9. Bob Slydell

    Bob Slydell Active Member

    Yeah, seriously learn to do everything, including shoot and do video. Because they are going to expect you to do everything.

    Think about what you're weakest at, and work on it. If shooting is not your strong suit, go with a photog to a game and try to get pointers.

    And don't be too proud or feel too entitled to do grunt work or start at a small daily or weekly and work hard and move up. Not everyone can start at the Plain Dealer!
  10. Rex Harrison

    Rex Harrison Member

    Well, it's never too late to change your major. Or, you can keep pursuing this, start at some rag in North Dakota in the middle of nowhere, maybe work your way to a better paper just in time to get laid off. I wish someone would have told me that years ago.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Told you what? To change your major or start at some rag in North Dakota?
  12. ballscribe

    ballscribe Active Member

    Aren't all Mizzou soon-to-be grads "effin' studs"? That's what I keep hearing. :D
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