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No more overtime...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sweetbreads bailey, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. I was informed, right before going home for my Christmas "holiday", that we're not allowed to work overtime anymore.

    Basically, I'm a one-man sports department with a small stringer budget. I never abused to OT system but it was nice to get a little extra on those weeks when I had to put in some extra time to get everything done (which was at least a few hours most weeks)...

    Is this pretty standard in the business now? We're a Heartland paper, and they seem to be squeezing us from every angle since they took us over last year (no Christmas bonus, doubling of insurance to keep my wife and kids on their plan, etc).

    What to do if I "run out of hours" on the eve of the big game between my rival schools? Of course, go home. But then I come across looking lazy to our readers...

    Kind of frustrating... I guess that's the business now days ... For the first time in my 10+ years of working in newspapers, I'm seriously pondering getting out. And I've always felt I was made to do this, but I just keep hitting the wall with how corporate everything has become - run everyone into the ground telling them to do four jobs, trim the product until it's bare bones and then wonder why circulation keeps dropping...
     
  2. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Time to polish the resume.
     
  3. Damaramu

    Damaramu Member

    Yeah my company figured out how to prevent me from getting OT despite being a one man show.......salary. I'm on salary and I can be worked as much as they feel like.
     
  4. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Newspapers don't give their ad space away for free.

    They don't give the paper away for free -- oh, wait, I guess they do, on the Web. But they admit that doing so is a major problem for the "business model."

    That is our choice, too, as I see it. Either we don't give away our time for free or we give it away and create a big problem for our business models.

    As long as some of us are willing to work X number of hours for free -- or work for $23K at a job formerly held by someone working $45K -- there will be no incentives for the bosses to pay a fair wage or even any wage at all starting with that 41st hour.

    Now, if it's a temporary thing with a guaranteed payoff (promotion? evaluation-and-raise in a couple of months?), do what you have to do. Otherwise, do what you have to do: Get out of the business.
     
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, Joe is right in terms of supply and demand in this business. There are too many journalists and not enough jobs.

    Everybody's circumstance is different of course, but if they want to forbid you from overtime, then don't work it. If readers ask, tell them that the paper wants you to work for free (if you want to work for free anyway, then more power to you). And tell them that your publisher has a nice fancy car while wanting you to work for free.

    I've been pretty lucky in this business (so far!) in that I've worked for shops that don't want to pay for OT, but will if you show that you've worked it. I'm not talking about working an extra hour or three. I understand the need to get the job done and I don't put down for two hours of OT if I work 42. But if a shop wanted me to work 60-70 hours, then they better be damn well paying me for that time. I love journalism as much as the next guy, but if the publishing companies are going to treat it like a business, then so am I. As the saying goes, time is money. If I want to work 20 to 30 extra hours, I could be doing that for McDonalds or Wal-Mart and get paid for it. I understand a lot of journalists work 60-70 hours and get paid for 40 because they love the work. My hat's off to them.

    Sweetbread: How do they track your hours? Timesheet, punchclock? I'm asking this because there have been SJ posters who have had their timesheets changed and received their OT after they left their jobs.
     
  6. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Not literally, or it'll be too hard to read
     
  7. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    The problem with the Wal-Mart scenario is that a good number of papers are trying to find ways to imitate how Wal-Mart got so rich. But Wal-Mart had papers breathing down their neck.
    Who breathes down the papers' necks?
     
  8. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    What I meant by the Wal-Mart reference is that if I wanted to work 40 for the paper and another 20 or 30 hours, that the paper better pay me for that time, otherwise I could work that 20 or 30 for Wal-Mart and get paid a (low) wage for that time, rather than working for free.
     
  9. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    A Heartland paper? Not wanting to pay OT? Unpossible.

    This is the same group that bought up a bunch of papers, dumped a bunch of people and it's highly likely that the company either promoted some lower on the ladder at much lower wages or hired others for perhaps 50-60 percent of the predecessor's salary.

    It's also obvious that Heartland is hoping you'd be so dying to serve the readers that you'll do numerous games/matches/meets for essentially nothing. Draw the line, understanding the ultimate cost if Heartland thinks they can slavedrive someone else.

    That this is happening at a Heartland paper doesn't surprise me in the least. Sorry, sweetbreads.

    If you need further proof that Heartland will hire for cheap, look at this ad still on the North Carolina Press Association website. BYH could have a JRC-like field day with this one:

    Newspaper Professionals (posted 12/07/07)
    Expanding! Several newspaper positions are available immediately. Heartland Publications, Inc is a newspaper, internet and sales and marketing firm. Our company has a high success rate of turning motivated individuals into successful leaders. We are seeking experienced newspaper professionals that would like to take their drive and apply it towards a successful career in North Carolina. We develop our own managers, rather than hiring people strictly based on their degree or experience. Our field of expertise is acquisition and growth of newspaper companies. To accomplish this we need people that are able to communicate with their customers and coworkers in an effective manner while helping to operate and grow our companies. You must be able to provide the human interaction our clients and employees need to be successful. We currently are expanding and have several employment opportunities in North Carolina in the following positions: General Managers, Editors, Sports Editors, Reporters, Graphics Designers, Advertising Managers, Outside Advertising Salespeople, Inside Advertising Salespeople, Internet Advertising Salespeople, Circulation Managers, District Managers, Production Managers, Goss Press operators,
    Goss Press Supervisors, KANSA Operators, Mailroom Managers,Successful candidates must be:
    Team Oriented, Aggressive, Positive Attitude, Goal Oriented, Results Driven. Employees with a proven track record will have the opportunity to earn an above average income and participate in our health, vacation, and retirement programs. Qualified candidates will have the opportunity to help us manage and run one of our publications. Email your resume to jcraig@heartlandpublications.com or mail your resume to Joseph Craig, PO BOX 1028, Lumberton NC 28359. This is a great opportunity for you to join a growing company. Our publications are located mostly in Micropolitan markets adjoining larger Metropolitan communities like Charlotte, Raleigh, and Fayetteville. This translates to small town living with big town amenities only a short drive away.
     
  10. What about comp. time or slide days?
    Our company also frowns on OT, but the brass here realizes the jobs needs to get done and they are pretty willing to allow comp. time and slide days.
     
  11. Walter Burns

    Walter Burns Member

    I work at a small Gannett paper. Overtime was outlawed around June, to the point where there isn't even any holiday time (we had a guy work Christmas, so he gets an extra day and a half off that week...as you might imagine, it's hell to plan).
    It's gotten to the point where we realize that the people at the top don't give a shit about the product we turn out, so nobody in the newsroom, excuse me, local information center, gives a shit either.
     
  12. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Ding. Ding. Ding.


    Then ask the readers if they have a job for you, because soon you'll be looking.

    The "don't work it" suggestion sounds good in theory. It certainly would be fun to walk away at quitting time and say, "Well, hey, we didn't have an extra hour to get that done, so maybe tomorrow."

    How do you adequately answer the phones, emails, go to meetings, handle the "emergency" meetings, get the job done, have a meal, deal with the mini-crisis, plan a section, review a section, plan long-range, deal with budgets, handle any family issues and do everything else with minimal (if any) support staff while keeping management happy and meeting the "no overtime" decree?
     
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