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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BrianGriffin, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    I'm posting this after reading some of the "Life After Journalism" thread. I think this is the next logical discussion.

    Put simply, I think despite the loss of jobs, I'm not convinced the applicant pool for potential jobs is going up much because I suspect that a lot of people are leaving the industry.

    There's a pattern I'm seeing that's a little weird to me, but I think I'm beginning to understand. I'm at a 40k, 38-person news room, family-owned. We've had no layoffs, though we've cut staff size through attrition like everybody else (Off the top of my head, I think we have cut three newsroom positions, none in the seven-person sports staff). The local economy is probably doing better than the national average, our circulation is steady and we had a small decrease in revenue in the last year, mainly from the loss of one large retailer who seemed to stuff a daily insert in our paper. Not good, but not a nightmare scenario.

    Here's the thing. In two of our hires I am familiar with in the last year — including one in sports — the applications weren't exactly rolling in off the fax machine, know what I mean? Our pay, best I can tell, is comparable to similar sized papers in the region. We also advertised in all the usual places — Journalismjobs.com, the state press association Site, etc. — so we got the word out. Yet, the piles of resumés were nowhere to be seen.

    We had a pagination position (the No. 2 guy) where a guy got out of the business. We weren't getting many bites on it and no experienced people coming off places that had layoffs. Not one. We got lucky that the guy who left got spooked by his new job, asked for his job back, and got it.

    Same with a photography opening. Smattering of applicants, no experienced applicants. Offered it to a fresh-out-of-college applicant, got turned down so she could be closer to her fiancé at another paper. Wound up hiring someone with some small paper experience (a few years removed from it) only and, with her, so far so good.

    My question is this: Is the state of the business driving the talent out of the business? Are you guys experiencing what I've experienced with your job searches?

    It makes sense to me. If I was just bought out and the circumstances that led to the buyout exist at other papers, I wouldn't exactly want to jump back on that horse, know what I'm saying? It kills me because there seems to be a lot of talent leaving the business.

    Now, I've seen a few jobs out there — one in Springfield jumps to mind — where the applicant pool seemed to be huge, judging from what they were saying. I'm just curious if we are the exception, the rule or is it somewhere in between.
  2. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    Hey Brian, can Stewy lick his own nuts too? I gotta figure being a baby and all that he's got a pretty decent shot.

    Oh, yes, it's getting tougher to hire people.

    I'll hang up now and listen.
  3. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    I'm just perplexed by Stewie's transformation from tyrant to gay gossiper guy. Stewie has evolved into a little tyke who would probably try to lick his own nuts.

    I think our business is trying to make newsroom jobs so undesirable, the applicant pool for a copy editor position will be the same as the applicant pool for a mail room position...

    And if your paper's like mine, you have a recruiting tool for mail room workers — it's called work-release.
  4. rascalface

    rascalface Member

    Papers are hiring copy editors? When did that start?
  5. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    Sure they are.

    Well, I should say they are hiring a copy editor/paginator/reporter/photographer/mailroom insert stuffer/bathroom attendant. And they want you to know they don't pay overtime.
  6. rascalface

    rascalface Member

    As long as it's not copy editor/security guard ....
  7. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    The security guards have been bought out.

    Company decided there was nothing left inside the building worth guarding...
  8. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    The talent will find it's way around.
    Except where I am, where the writers at the in state paper couldn't find a good story if it kicked them in the groin.
    The only thing I feel that is holding me back is my girlfriend, who refuses to leave this god forsaken place.

    NQLBLQ Member

    As a young gun I see all of a lot of my friends who graduated with a J-degree from the J-school down the road get jobs in media relations, PR, HR, janitorial work - because it pays better. While guys like me and girls (like our best writer) at non-J-schools apply for those open jobs because we LOVE to do what we do. We aren't qualified but we have passion.

    At least I do anyway. Love my college paper job, want a job in the biz, I don't care that I'll never make six-figs I just love to tell a good story.

    Sure, I'm not from a J-school, I'm not qualified with five years of experience. But I think a lot of non-J-schoolers are willing to learn and won't give anyone ANY 'tude because we know our role.

    I got off on a tangent there... I'll get off my soap box.

    I think the reason applicant numbers are dwindling is two reasons:

    1. money is better elsewhere
    2. fewer J-school kids go into Journalism
  10. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Someday, you will. There will come a point in your life, when you're working on a Christmas Day or missing Thanksgiving dinner with your wife and children and family; when you're trying to scrape up enough cash to fix the roof on your 55-year-old house in a "transitional" part of town; when you want to drive something a little bit better than a used Hyundai; when you turn 40 and realize you've invested nothing in your 401(k) program; when your children are a year away from college and you realize you may have to sell your organs to get them into any school, let alone a good one; when your college buddy is buying a second home on the beach and you're debating whether to pay this month's electric bill or pay the phone bill; when your wife dreams of going to Paris someday before she dies and the best you can offer is a companion ticket to Starkville, Miss., to cover the SEC baseball tournament; when you strongly consider pawning your jewelry to make that mortgage payment because your expense check was a few days late ...

    ... then you will. Trust me, you will. Because I've been there. And I'd venture to say almost everyone on this board who's reached age 40 has faced one of these situations at least once.

    Bless you if you're willing to stick it out, and I hope you keep up the good fight, but there will come a day when you question why you've gone into journalism vs. any other line of work.

    I used to think that telling a good story and having a front-row seat to history at it unfolds was enough. And then life happened. And I discovered I was wrong.

    (Sorry for the threadjack/rant. Something just struck a nerve with me. Carry on.)
  11. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    The five years experience plus a degree in something else should more than make up for a lack of a journalism degree. Your resumé is not lacking by any stretch
  12. NQLBLQ

    NQLBLQ Member


    Really that bad, huh? When would you recommend someone get out? I mean, is this just a great job for someone in their 20s. Someone with no life, no responsibility, no kids, no family?
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