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Making the move: Newspaper to magazine

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Baby shoe, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. Baby shoe

    Baby shoe New Member

    I'm a long-time poster using alternate identity and am looking for some career advice.

    I have been in newspapers for five years - two as a writer, one as assistant editor and two as editor. I've been with the same paper for all that time. It's a 70,000-circ. daily in a metro city. My current duties are to oversee the section, assign stories, edit, etc. My hours are generally 10-7 with some weekend work. I write about once a week. I travel about 2-3 times a year.

    I've been approached by a magazine, located in same city, to come onboard as an editor. Pay is going to be equal or about 3-4 percent better than my current gig. Mag hours are 9-5 for the majority of the year with about six weeks of 60-70 hour work weeks sprinkled in. I'd be in charge of two of the magazine's main vehicles (this particular mag has about a dozen entities). I would write more than I am currently and would travel 5-6 times a year.

    My current paper has job security issues. The magazine does not.

    Sports department-wise, I've hit the ceiling at the paper -- no promotion available unless I became managing editor or executive editor or if a new position was created. At the magazine, there would be 3-4 rungs above me.

    Salary-wise, this would be essentially a lateral move. I want to know what you guys think, career-wise. I'm in my late 20s.

    Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Feel free to PM as well.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I say go for it.
  3. Platyrhynchos

    Platyrhynchos Active Member

    I'd be all over it, especially since there are job security issues at the paper.
  4. somewriter

    somewriter Member

    Hours, lifestyle should be better if a M-F 9-5 schedule is important to you. But you'd obviously have to consider how challenging and interesting the magazine would be vs. where you are now. Long-term, you should consider how many opportunities you might have at bigger and different magazines in other cities if that's a move you want to make. Depending on the type and quality of magazine, moving up the rung there could open up better positions at the paper in the future. Or you could be "stuck" at the magazine long-term. As for the pay, if the magazine's offer is the only one they've given you, they probably have some wiggle room. I'd go along the lines of, "I'm very interested in the opportunity, but the money needs to be a little better before I could legitimately make this big of a professional career shift." If you're legitimately 50-50, you can try to get a raise from the paper but if you don't get it, you might have to take the other job.
  5. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    The only thing I miss from my time in newspapers -- apart from the newsroom camraderie -- is the immediacy of it. There have been several times I've had stories that I wish I could see in print the next day. Instead, it'll be three months down the road. That time lag is tough, especially with sports.

    But apart from that, the magazine life is a relative dream. Better hours, fewer mistakes, easier deadlines, longer form, more freedom in style, higher profile... Sometimes I think of going back to newspapers to feel the rush of it again. Then I think about how I have to write ten stories a year instead of ten a week, and the longing passes.
  6. I agree with somewriter. You will never have a better opportunity to negotiate salary than when you are first hired, so talk to the mag people and see if they have some wiggle room. Explain that you don't want to make a lateral move just for move's sake. If they can't do salary, maybe there's something else that makes it more palatable: extra week of vacation, paid parking, travel budget, anything. At one of my stops, I got paid parking as a perk. At another, an extra week of vacation when they couldn't improve on salary. But you have to ask. And no one will think badly of you for getting the best deal for yourself.

    The hours sound better, and so does the career path. And nothing says you can't move back to larger newspapers from a mag. Why may be another question. Good luck with your decison.
  7. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sir or Madame,

    I think you'll be far happier with your work and life. I know I have been since I went from newspapers to magazines. I moved around at the papers I worked at, from columns to features to news and whatever, sports and other, and I feel more satisfied most of the time about my mag work and book work than I ever did at the Bugle and the politics and backstabbing are at a minimum in the glossy or hardcover world. I've generally found that those who pay you the best treat you the best in magazines. I know what Mr Jones says about the immediacy, but really, doing something well, though it takes time, is a better buzz.

    YHS, etc
  8. I've gone from dailies to magazines to dailies to magazines to PR so take this for what it's worth. If you work your ass off at a daily, you will work your ass off at a magazine. If you work 12-hour days at a daily, you'll find yourself working 12-hour days at a magazine. It depends on the type of person. What I liked about newspapers -- where I've been a writer, copy editor and layout guy -- is that for the most part, tomorrow's a new day. Once deadline rolls around, you're done and if you want to try to play 18 holes the next morning, there's not much weighing on you. At a magazine, especially a monthly, quality is much more of an issue, as is presentation. There never seems to be an end, one thing rolls into another. There never seemed to be that chance to take a deep breath and start over because you're always working on the next issue. You'll look at proofs so many times that there could be a blatant error in something and if you miss it the first time, you won't see it until the bluelines (if they still do those). At a magazine, you can schedule your life a little easier because issues are planned out -- or should be -- far in advance so you'll know when is a good time to cut out for a week and when is going to be a rough spot.

    So I guess echoing what's already been stated in this thread, dailies are great for the immediacy but magazines are a little better for the lifestyle.
  9. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Everybody in the newspaper life owes it to themselves to work a 9-to-5 at least once.

    I did it for 5 years or so in PR ... and loved, loved, loved having a nightlife.
  10. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Did you boogie on the disco round, oh yeah? :D
  11. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    If you're the kind of writer/reporter who loves to break news, then going to magazines or less-frequent papers can be torturous. I was that kind of guy, and I went from a small town daily to metro business weekly. Got my ass kicked by the daily business section, and our editors hated to run second-day-lede stories. So it made my time there quite frustrating.

    Questions: Are these sports magazines? Does that matter to you?
  12. Roll the dice and go for it.
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