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News/sports reporter in Williston, N.D.

Discussion in 'Journalism Jobs' started by Stitch, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Hope the paper is holding an apartment for the pair of jobs that are open. I'm guessing the jobs pay around $25-27K per year? This isn't a place for everyone, but it can be an adventure.


    Company: Williston Herald
    Location: Williston, North Dakota
    Website: http://www.willistonherald.com

    Description: Historic opportunity for a news reporters

    The Williston Herald in North Dakota is looking for a pair of full-time reporters to cover local news. One of the positions will cover news and sports. We are looking for dependable, hard-working individuals who can meet deadlines, generate story ideas and crank out articles. Being handy with a camera is a plus, and if you have newspaper layout skills, you will get our attention. Excellent writing and interviewing skills are a must.
    Our region is going through an historic shift in growth, demographics and overall way of life. Human interest and controversial news stories abound. It's never a dull day in our newsroom.
    The job does require working some nights, and includes benefits and paid vacations. Those seeking a part-time position will also be considered.
    If you think you have what it takes to report on the Williston area during these historic times, e-mail a resume and clips to Managing Editor Jacob Brooks at jbrooks@willistonherald.com. For more information, call Brooks at 701-572-2165.
  2. Cubbiebum

    Cubbiebum Member

    This would be my old job. I'll just say this is not a position for most. I'll answer any questions you might have in a PM.

    Pay is hourly FYI.
  3. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    My theory is the last guy couldn't hack it in the shadow of the guy before him.
  4. Cubbiebum

    Cubbiebum Member

    Probably the case. The guy before me really moved on to a great place.
  5. doodah

    doodah Guest

    The thing that concerns me, and concerns me greatly here, is that they aren't looking for just a sports writer. That's what I want to be. I don't want to write about news. I'm concerned if I take this job they'll have me write more news than sports and derail my career forever.
  6. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Williston is one of those places where you ask yourself, how bad do I want to be reporter? Would I take anything to enable my career to move forward? Plenty of sports writers have worked on the news side.
  7. doodah

    doodah Guest

    Thanks. I'll apply then. Even though it gets cold there.
  8. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    Doodah- I love writing sports more than news, but you have to be able to do both. Not every story is going to be a gamer, preview or feature. There will be breaking news, even in the sports world, where you have to know how to report things that aren't simply stats from a game mixed with quotes. You need to know how to FOIA and look through documents that are "news-related" in order to tell stories, too.
  9. Cubbiebum

    Cubbiebum Member

    Position was filled awhile ago. In a move that demonstrates why I left, they hired a guy with almost no journalism experience just because he was already living in town and thought he wanted to try being a journalist. It is the second straight hire they have made using this philosophy. They do what is easy rather than seek out the best.
  10. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Not sure if doodah's posting any more, but, Matt speaks the truth. Like it or not, sports can cross over into cops, courts, education and hospitals, to name a few areas off the top of my head, and, the way staffs are stretched, don't count on the beat writer in that area being able to give you more than a phone number. Plus, I think 10 or so years on news desks has increased my objectivity. I know there's a couple of stories I wouldn't have handled well without some news experience.

    EDIT: @Cubbiebum ... my sympathies to your former readers.
  11. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I think this has been filled now? No matter, I'm sure something will open up there again soon enough.

    As a counterpoint to all the negativity, my two years in Williston were some of the best of my life. It's not for everyone, but there are people who will absolutely love it.

    I'll let everyone else tell you about the housing shortage, how the oil boom has drawn a rougher element to town, and how utterly remote it is. That's all true.

    For one thing, it is absolutely gorgeous country. If you love the outdoors at all, or even nice scenery as you drive, then you will love the area. Williston sits right on the northern edge of the Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park is in the coverage area. Covering a bison drive there was one of my all-time favorite assignments. Watching a massive herd of bison thunder over a hill, chased by a helicopter, is a sight to behold.

    You have to love covering prep sports, but you will get a chance to really make it your own. You will be covering farm towns so small they need four schools to co-op enough for a basketball team. My first 9-man football game involved a team with only two players on the bench, for a total roster of 11. But the people there will appreciate the coverage and you won't hear lots of snarking about how "big city paper covered it better" because you will be the only one covering it.

    You will get a break from the "basketball/football/baseball" monotony of many preps jobs. Covering prep hockey was one of the main reasons I moved there. I joined a curling league. I covered a lot of boxing and rodeo.

    Third, and I'm sure this is going to be a bit controversial, but they really don't have extremely high standards. It is a struggle for them to keep the newspaper staffed, printed and delivered because of the labor shortage in the area. This is not a job that will grind you to dust and leave you burnt out in a few years. If you can crank out the column inches, that's all they ask, and I loved that as someone who has never liked the "journalism should be your life and if you aren't excited to drive through a hurricane of fire to be here, you don't love it enough" vibe.

    As a journalist, it was just fun living somewhere so interesting. This is a town completely out of sync with the rest of the country: Way too many jobs and not enough housing or people. Third-generation farmers start getting oil royalty checks and are overnight millionaires with nothing to spend it on but gigantic pickup trucks. People show up on the train with a backpack full of clothes and nothing else, but build lives for themselves there.

    You are absolutely layoff-proof there. The biggest question is whether you can resist the temptation to take a much higher-paying job somewhere else in town, because there will be opportunities everywhere.

    Like all jobs at a small paper, the job descriptions are constantly in flux. If the sports editor quits, you may find yourself doing nothing but sports for a year. In the summer when preps slow down, you may be straight news for awhile. It will depend on the needs of the paper and the abilities of the ever-changing staff, so you should be equally happy and comfortable doing both.
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    There is a spot still open. An interview is taking place today.
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