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Question for people who work at weeklies

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    What brings you joy from your work? I'm not getting any joy from my job for the weekly newspaper and just wanted to see where others with similar jobs found joy.

    I've been doing this for 14 years on a part-time basis and almost nothing good has happened for me. I have a full-time job with a daily organization, which can bring joy. Quitting this job before the high school sports season ends is not an option until I find another full-time job.
  2. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    I've done both.

    Working at a weekly, I've found most joy writing in-depth features, but at that gig, I was allowed by the bosses there to spend a lot of time on those, while not worrying too much about news.

    I realize that may not be the case everywhere, but that was an experience where I was happy at a weekly.
  3. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    Almost no chance for me to write in-depth features. I basically just write short summaries of the past week's events.
  4. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    Sounds like the weekly you're working for isn't that much fun, but any gig is going to have its ups and downs. The downside to a weekly is things that happen the day or day after you publish aren't worth it to print in the next issue, but you normally get to go more in depth with stories and you can have more time to polish a good one. A daily, you can get events in more often and have an easier time breaking news. The downside is the constant deadline that can be a pain if you want to have a life and if you work at a smaller daily, it is harder to do bigger features.

    I left a daily and came to a weekly and love the fact that I have less stress and I find I'm covering things about the same thanks to the web. I just don't feel as rushed to turn stories around and I can plan better for features.

    Your job may not be fun, but I wouldn't knock all weeklies.
  5. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    This sounds more like a shop-specific problem than a weekly problem.
  6. valpo87

    valpo87 Guest

    I work at a weekly on a military installation. Yes it is run by Public Affairs, but we get to do a lot of in-depth features and write breaking news for our website occasionally. I recently did a piece on a military working dog handler being reunited with his partner he had for two deployments in Afghanistan. I could have written that for a daily, but I can make it longer for this paper.
  7. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    I get a lot of joy out of the flexibility in my schedule, which allows me plenty of time with my family and the freedom to work from home. That said, I still put in my share of weekend hours and such, but I get to cover what I'd like and what works into my week.
  8. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    Spartan Squad -- I have found much more stress in working for the weekly than the daily.
  9. PirateSports

    PirateSports Member

    I've worked at a daily as a beat writer and at a couple of bi and tri-weeklies as an SE and editor. I really liked the routine of the daily newspaper and I worked for a sports editor who expected a little of everything from me every week. I covered games practically every night, was expected to do notebooks several times a week, a weekly column and a feature once a week…not to mention my desk duties. All of that being said, I was right out of college and my girlfriend (now my wife) was six hours away so I was all for it.
    Professionally, I grew more than I could have ever expected, but I had a feeling that it would not be the lifestyle I would choose long term because I wanted to be a great husband and father down the road.
    I made the decision to be the sports editor at my hometown bi-weekly and it was the right move for me. I have complete and total freedom to run my section how I see fit. I make my own schedule, design my own pages, tone my pictures and I get to be the source for all sports news in my county. Also, I get to spend several days a week at home with my wife and three kids. There's a big metro 30-miles away and its sports editor and I talk regularly, and he's told me numerous times how much he envies my setup…and I make more than he does with a tenth of his circulation.
  10. bpoindexter

    bpoindexter Active Member

    Yo Mr. X, you can absolutely find the time to write in-depth features, and yes, they're rewarding - or at least should be.

    I was at a weekly for three years, up until a few months ago, and in that time I managed to plan and carry out several in-depth features, all of which affected each of the five high schools I covered, and a few of which turned into regional efforts since the paper I worked for was part of a chain of nine in our area. One was on the state of California deciding late in the game to switch from BESR bats to BBCOR at the high school level, the struggle to make, ship and obtain them, and the reactions of players, coaches, parents, administrators and bat manufacturers themselves. The story drew a ton of traffic online, too. We dressed up the print edition with art which, given that we were a weekly, gave us plenty of time to plan and carry out the assignment.

    That said, you still have to recap all those games from the past week. But with some planning and multi-tasking, yes, it can happen - and without working overtime hours for which you might not be paid.

    Hope everyone's advice is helping you. Good luck.
  11. Nathan_C_Deen

    Nathan_C_Deen New Member

    I worked as a sports editor for 2 1/2 years at a weekly, also a military publication. I think the reason I wanted to leave was because the coverage emphasis was on the internal sports league on the installation, which were extremely difficult to cover. Imagine covering a game where most teams have no rosters or jersey numbers and you're required to take your own stats and photos. To be honest, I don't know how I did it for so long. Some of the Soldiers complained that I covered the same teams too often. I told them those teams had rosters and jersey numbers and made my life easier. My desire was to move up to a daily and cover high schools, which is what I'm doing now. But I feel like I can say I paid my dues, and I learned photography and design at that job, which makes me more well-rounded for future jobs.
    I also agree the best perk was being able to write features. I actually got to write two longform pieces along with a handful of in-depth features. To be honest, I really miss that part. I had to convince my editor today to run a story I'm working on about a high school wrestler who lost his dad to cancer his senior season in two parts over two days. Otherwise, a daily doesn't typically allow you to publish that type of work.
    Finally, I will say that writers with higher positions shouldn't look down on those at weeklies. A lot of sports guys at weeklies could be at dailies if they wanted to, but they love weeklies and they generally devote 60-70 hours per week covering everything they possibly can.
  12. valpo87

    valpo87 Guest

    I work at a weekly military paper now. I enjoy it because I get to write a few stories a week, take photos and design some pages. The only reason I would leave for a daily is the salary raise.
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