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Probably been asked before but...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by PSU123, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. PSU123

    PSU123 New Member

    Hey, a HS student here that's thinking about going into sports journalist. Obviously the question has been asked, "how's the pay?"

    I know the first few years is crap and you struggle. But I never see any info what it's like after the few first years and you start to get more expierence.

    So what is the pay like after you start to get more and more expierence? Or a better question, what is the pay like after 10 years or so?

    Also, can working at a college newspaper and let's say getting an internship help where you get hired and how much you make?

  2. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Don't do it, kid. Just don't.

    I've been in about 10 years, am at a mid-metro type paper (about 100K) and I still haven't cracked 40K.
  3. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    And before you think "wow, $40,000! I've never made that kind of money in my life! Sounds good to me!" ask your parents how far that goes. Especially with a spouse and kids.
  4. NoOneYouKnow

    NoOneYouKnow Member

    Kid, don't listen to the nonsense.

    People in the newspaper industry right now are having a tough time. The economics of it just aren't working. There are many reasons for this -- poor management decisions, lack of advertising dollars, loss of readership to the Internet, etc.

    But sports journalism is still a good thing. The media is just changing (i.e. the Internet movement, which newspapers are woefully behind on, or at least can't make money at yet).

    As for your question about salary, you'll get a ton of different answers. It could depend on where you live, size of paper or Web site, your skills, the economy, etc.

    For me, I started nearly 15 years ago and made $26,000/year at a 40,000 circulation newspaper. From there, I moved to a 150,000 circulation paper for a few years and then made it to a major metro. My last annual pay there was $75,000. Now I've joined a Web site and will make six figures this year.

    So, what I can say is this (and it's what I've always told newbies wanting in): Go to a good school, bust your tail -- meaning soak in everything, writing, editing, design -- and come out of college a well-rounded, multitalented journalist. From there, let those talents direct your career. It worked for me, at least.

    Best of luck with following journalism as a career.
  5. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    First, learn how to spell experience.
    Then, follow exactly what NoOneYouKnow said.
  6. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    NoOne, I appreciate your optimism, but sometimes it's not that easy.

    You can go to the good school. You can work your ass off. You can develop a horde of skills and become fluent in sixteen types of software and even end up teaching one of your college classes because your professor doesn't know Photoshop.

    None of these things guarantee a nice payday. It does not guarantee a steady climb up the corporate ladder. It does not guarantee that opportunities will exist. You must have all those things PLUS a heaping helping of luck and timing.

    I think a young person needs to seriously evaluate his or her priorities and what a chosen career can offer before making a career choice.

    If your priorities in life are to never work weekends, drive nice cars and have Christmas with your family, this is not the career for you. If a priority is to have a spouse who stays home to raise children, again, this might not be for you. If a priority is to stay close to your hometown ... you catch my drift.

    When you are young, it is easy to say "Sure, I'll work Christmas! I'll do it because I love sports and I love to write and those are the sacrifices!" But think of what you'll be saying after nine consecutive Christmases away from your family because your paper's town (a very expensive plane ticket away from your hometown) hosts a giant high school holiday basketball tournament that begins at 8 a.m. on Dec. 26.

    And there are days like that when not even a $75K paycheck will be worth the personal cost of the job.
  7. mediaguy

    mediaguy Active Member

    Don't go into journalism expecting to make six figures, at least not until 20 years from now, where six figures is the new $50k. This shouldn't be an industry you go into with high salary expectations. Wasn't before, certainly isn't now.

    Lots of other compelling reasons to enter the industry -- I have them written down somewhere -- but money really isn't one of them.
  8. Babs

    Babs Member

    I would not recommend this profession to a high school student I cared about.
  9. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    As someone who graduated from college a year ago, I wish someone would have told me not to go into this profession. And even though its the only thing I've wanted to do with my life, that doesn't matter, when you are broke and don't have many job options.
  10. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    The good: if you're a journalist, you (typically) are a good writer. Therefore you're valuable to other companies out of the journalism industry if you decide it isn't for you. I figured since sports is my passion and writing comes easily to me, this would be a cakewalk of a career. However, since I had to stay at home by myself for the 4th of July because I have to cover a high school baseball game tonight, I'm a little frustrated that I didn't choose a M-F 9-5 cubicle job.

    If I don't get on a major college beat within the next five years, I'll probably consider doing something else. Marketing, maybe.
  11. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    In general, the pay in journalism is not that good. There are exceptions, depending on the size/status of the area and paper, and how far up the food chain you are in terms of job title/status while there.

    But, for all those at major metros who make what seems like plenty of money, be aware that there are some people in those same places who may not make nearly so much. In fact, they may make surprisingly little, and not much more than those at any other smaller or lesser paper.

    This can happen if you get "slotted," as we call it, into what, officially, is a lower classification than somebody else (even though you do much of the same work), and then you may be stuck on a certain "track" without realizing it because, you know, you're not supposed to ask/talk to other colleagues about their positions/titles/salaries, etc.

    Doesn't happen all the time, but just want to show that getting to a major metro doesn't necessarily mean you've made it, financially, or will always be making great money.

    What Cadet and sportschick said? Listen to them, and balance it with what NOYK said.

    It's quite possible to work hard -- to even become known for your work ethic and versatility and your willingness to go anywhere/do anything (see Scott Carter on the Tampa thread) -- and to be a great reporter with vision, news judgment and an enterprising, aggressive nature that combines nicely with good writing talent and a desire to continually grow and always give your best -- and still, unfortunately, not get to where you'd really like to be, either financially, or career-wise.

    Try this on for a little perspective: My sister, who has no degree and works in a small-town hair salon -- no celebrity clients there, as far as I know -- makes about 75 percent more a year in her job as a stylist than I ever have in close to 15 years in the business. I made $40,000 last year for the first time, and I've graduated college and have been at a major metro.

    I wouldn't tell anyone not to go into journalism if they love it and that's what they want to do because I'm among those who believe that the format of dissemination is changing, not the need for that to happen. I'm also still somewhat hopeful that, eventually, we'll either get a new business model figured out, or else, get back to concentrating on basics, distributed electronically, of course, and will realize again that good, strong stories with lots of reporting depth -- you know, what we used to do -- is what we really need.

    But I would tell anyone who asked about the field to go in with their eyes wide open, and with the realization that there are, and probably will be, many fewer journalists needed, or wanted by those hiring, to do such work in the future.

    Therefore, they may, indeed, be in need of even more luck than ever if they are to achieve all of their goals, or reach the top echelon of the industry pay scale or food chain.
  12. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    When you start asking about journalism and your very first question is about money/pay/salary, then this profession probably isn't for you.

    And NOYK, for every story like yours, there are at least five that struggle financially.
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