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Need job advice for recent grad looking to get back into sports reporting

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Rhouston, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. Rhouston

    Rhouston Member

    Hi all,

    First of all, let me just say that this Web site provides a great service to all aspiring and current sports journalists out there. Kudos to everyone who contributes.

    Getting to the point, the purpose of this post is for advice. I am a recent college graduate who is searching for a job. My junior year, I was my paper's assistant sports editor for the fall semester before venturing off to London in the spring. Needless to say, I was replaced for the rest of the year by someone else. My senior year, there was a need to fill the opinions editor position at the paper (a position that requires significantly less reporting), so I bucked up and took that position instead of applying for a higher-demanded sports editor or assistant position (anyway, both editors were returning, so I probably wouldn't have gotten either position).

    So I guess my question would be to any or all is how much that leave will affect my hiring status. Has anyone had a similar experience? I have plenty of clips, but the most recent sports-related one is from Fall 2005. Are those too old to send in? If that's the case, does anyone have suggestions?

    I am probably coming off as neurotic-sounding, but I'm not that type of person. I was sports director of my campus radio station last year and I applied for at least 60 production assistant/board op positions with no luck. So, I'm giving newspapers a shot now and would like to know if I have a chance at nailing a job at a semi-decent paper.

    Thanks in advance,

    Ross Houston
  2. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    If you've got clips, you probably have enough to get a job at a small-town paper, especially with a little bit of sports experience. But you probably shouldn't be real picky.

    I would keep trying for those radio gigs if I were you, if that's really what you want to do. When I graduated two years ago, I was told it took an average of nine months to get a communication-related job. I'm sure not much has changed, so don't get too down on yourself. Things will happen for you if you keep plugging away.
  3. BRoth

    BRoth Member

    I've always wanted to be the first to do this on a board...

    You're hired!
  4. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    I just got done searching for a starting job myself. If you've got the time to wait for it (as well as the skill and willingness to work hard for little pay), what you want is out there.

    As far as the timeliness of your clips, I've seen people hired at small dailies with 4-year-old clips from their high school days, if that's any consolation.

    Good luck.
  5. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Just asking - why would you want to be the first to make people say "what an asshole" so early in the morning?
    Guy comes on, asks a legit and serious question *** not every thread has to be goofy central. Some people want actual, intelligent discussion.
    And while it sounds like I'm jumping your ass specifically, I'm not.
  6. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    If you've got clips that show you can write and report, I don't think the fact that they're a little dated will matter, especially since you have a logical explanation - 'hey I was the op-ed editor - for the gap.
    My advice - apply, apply, apply. And then apply again. Just when you think you'll never get a call back, you'll get three in the same week. The key is getting your name and your clips out there.

    And if you're concerned about the timeliness of your clips, call the local paper's SE and see about stringing some HS football games this fall to pick up some fresh clips while you continue your job hunt.

    Best wishes,
  7. Screwball

    Screwball Member

    Get some professional experience. Most editors do not hire off college clips alone, no matter what you might have written about.

    ICB's idea above is excellent, and now is the time to call. Most papers want their high school football coverage staff in place well before school starts.

    Also, consider an internship. Some pay, and some don't (and some are limited to currently enrolled students so they can give you credit instead of paying you). But getting that foot in the door means professional clips -- and, just as important, feedback from professional editors and contacts for networking. If that paper doesn't have a full-time opening but that sports editor hears of another that does, he can pass that along. Or, if you cover an event with reporters from other papers, you might get a job lead that way.

    Finally, the more flexible you are in where you'll live, the better your chances.

    Oh, and don't ever regret the semester in London.

    Good luck.
  8. Rhouston

    Rhouston Member

    Thanks for everyone's advice. I did some serious applyage (great word) today, and tomorrow, I'm going to be contacting the Daily Herald (the Chicagoland Suburban paper) to see if they need any stringer help.

    I'll keep you all updated on how everything goes, even though Roth already hired me.
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