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Preparing for a new job

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by RedCanuck, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    So there's a possibility in a nearby chain of some staff juggling. Without getting into details, people are going to be going into a weekly newsroom in editing and reporting positions with little background in the community they're going to and not many people remaining on staff at that new paper who have that local, institutional knowledge that is needed to run a paper.

    Given that situation, or in general, how do you prepare for taking that job? Do you frantically drive around the new town to try to acquaint yourself with it? Do you read back issues, and if so, how long? Anything else you do going into a new job to ensure you're not working from behind from the beginning?
  2. mdpoppy

    mdpoppy Member

    What's the population? If it's less than 10,000, go to the local dinner and chat with the local folk -- they'll tell you EVERYTHING, and then some.
  3. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I definitely suggest reading back issues. That's what I did when I first got into my gig and it was an immeasurable help. To this day, I find myself reading back issues, both of stuff that happened while I was here (just as refreshers) and stuff that happened before I was here so I can put certain accomplishments into perspective (made playoffs 13 straights years, highest scorer since player X in 1983, etc.).

    I also found that attending practices and just chatting up people at games (not just the participants) helped me to get to know the people and the history of the teams I was covering. A lot of people couldn't wait to tell me about the former studs that had just graduated and how the current crop compared, etc.

    Now, I find that when I see people around town, they'll chat with me about stuff that has nothing to do with sports, which is great, because when a big story comes up, they usually feel pretty comfortable talking to me about them.

    That stuff can apply to the newsside as well ... talking to people during meetings, etc.

    I think it's immensely important to have your face out in the community and to interact with people so they get to know who you are. We don't always want to talk to them, but when we need to talk to them, that previous face time can really be money in the bank for you.
  4. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Alas, bigpern, that assumes the company KEEPS back issues. Certain JRC rags nuked the librarian position and turned the library into a place to dump each day's papers.
  5. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I agree with the idea of reading back issues. Not only do you find out what issues come up regularly, you have an idea of things you can do to improve things once you're on board.

    When I started my current gig, I noticed the paper ran a TON of wire (average five stories per weekly issue). As I put issue No. 99 to bed, I've cut down the average to one every three weeks.
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