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More responsibilities, zero respect

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by firpomarbury, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. firpomarbury

    firpomarbury Guest

    Here's my situation:

    I'm an attached (gf) guy, late-20's working at an independently-owned daily. Five-plus years in this shop working preps and copy editing.

    Recently, a whole shitstorm of change has roiled the shop. PE moves on to a new shop leaving us short staffed for the spring run of preps. Hot shot publisher asshole decides we're not hiring from the outside to fill, move someone from newsside over to preps. PE by committee basically (take a moment to imagine how that's working out right now). Anyway, SE decides we need to reorganize and shift duties around to cover the loss. BW for a mid-major D1 school (12 sports total) puts a bug in SE's ear and now all the sports BW doesn't want to deal with (women's soccer, tennis, etc.) have been foisted onto me on top of my other duties.

    Extra compensation for the added responsibilities: yeah right.

    My problem: do I even bother asking for a raise (from 22K a year) for taking on the added tasks or do I just eat shit, cover the women's golf team and start looking for a new career.

    I know some people in a different field that would be happy to get me in. Better pay, better hours and all. The lack of respect I'm getting and the lack of dignity I'm feeling make me want to puke every time I get on the interstate to come to the shop.

    To quote Tommy Boy: "I'm out here getting my ass kicked and every time I drive down the road I wanna jerk the wheel into a goddamn bridge abutment!"

    Any thoughts? Suggestions?
  2. Bump_Wills

    Bump_Wills Member

    Here's what you do: First, steel yourself up. Drink some OJ. Then, go in and politely tell your SE that having a PE by committee is a bunch of BS, regardless of what the ME says, and if things don't change ASAP, you're going to high-tail it out of there to a place where you can be a VIP.

    But mind your P's and Q's. Don't be an SOB about it.

    No, seriously, Buck's advice is strong: Talk with the sports editor about the reorganization, offer suggestions where you see fit or they're solicited, and try to figure out if it's a workable situation or if it's time to start looking for something else. No use driving into the abutment before you've done that. There's always time later.
  3. firpomarbury

    firpomarbury Guest

    Funny with the letters. I just noticed that. It's late...

    Anyway, the sports editor and I have spoken about the reorganization and his stance is "Too bad."
  4. pallister

    pallister Guest

    About respect. Don't worry about it when it comes to higher-ups. It only really matters when it comes from your peers and those you supervise.

    And if you're doing extra work, and doing a good job at it, there's nothing wrong with asking for a raise.
  5. firpomarbury

    firpomarbury Guest

    I guess I should have mentioned from the start that I haven't yet begun with the new responsibilities. But soon I will be up to my eyeballs in Tinytown USA prep baseball, pagination and women's college frisbee (exaggerated for effect).
  6. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    If your to-do list increases, you have every reason to ask for a raise.

    That said, you sound like the type who is prepared to blow off women's frisbee just because it's not football or basketball. Bad move. Look at it this way: you'll get to cover collegiate stuff, where you weren't before. You'll get to know college athletes, college coaches and the SID staff. You'll cut your college "beat" chops a bit and get a feel for how that all works in a low-pressure sport like frisbee.

    If you blow it off, you'll get nothing out of it. Who knows ... you might get in good with the frisbee coach. The coach might just be named to be a Frisbee USA national team assistant coach. She might be going to China for the Olympics with the national frisbee team. Then boom, suddenly you've got an Olympic story on your beat.

    Let's say you rock the hell out of that story, and it catches the attention of the Frisbee USA communications director. She's looking for a good features writer for www.frisbeeusa.org. Gig pays twice what you're making now, plus you'll get to travel to frisbee events across the country and spend lots of time at the national frisbee team training center in beautiful Chula Vista, CA.

    My point: Yes, your situation sucks, but realize the potential for opportunity. That's how this business works sometimes.
  7. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Dammit! FrisbeeUSA.org doesn't work for me. :D

    Anyway, Cadet's exactly right. And as forever_town said on the "homer" thread ... you ain't gonna get the chance to do the big stuff unless you do the small stuff well.

    The reason I got to cover my first prep game, at age 19? Because the phoners I took as an agate clerk (!) and the roundups that I wrote were sharp enough to draw notice from my SE, who thankfully gave me a chance to do more. When I busted my ass covering prep games, he gave me a chance to do bigger stuff. Kept building from there ...

    I don't expect anybody to have the same energy covering women's college frisbee as they would the Super Bowl. But if that's your assignment, I do expect the same effort from people I work with.

    Yes, you got the short end of the stick on this one. As I said before, keep your eyes open for opportunities to do bigger stories -- i.e. Cadet's example about the Olympic story landing in your lap. Just because you're covering a shit beat doesn't mean you can't do important work, or you can't find important stories.

    Attitude will take you a long way in this business.
  8. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a three-step plan to success, right there.
  9. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    The period immediately after a large-scale reorg isn't the best time to rock the boat.

    Roll with the changes for awhile and keep an eye open for opportunities to make your own suggestions for changes down the road.
  10. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Severely underrated work, right here. Solid, damn solid. </tp>
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member


    How much are you really gonna cover women's college golf? You gonna travel with the team? Follow the top golfers hole-by-hole?

    I don't really quite understand all the acronyms and such, but my here's my suggestion. I assume you are already working hard and writing lots of stories. Look at this as a positive.

    You can scour the women's hula hoop, and synchronized swimming team for really interesting stories and write them. You aren't gonna be a beat writer, look at yourself as a feature writer and dig for good stories.

    Oh and if you are gonna bitch about being given extra work and no extra money in this biz, you're gonna have to take a number and get in a long, damn line.
  12. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    Just makes sure you're cool when you talk to your SE. No, a raise might happen, but chances are it certainly won't if you don't ask. A couple extra Gs a year, honestly, isn't really going to make a huge difference in your take-home pay (especially if you get bumped into the next tax bracket -- $25k for most state and federal purposes). But it does show that they respect you. That's often what you're looking for. After all, we all know we're going to make dick for pretty much the span of our careers.
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