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Question on travel in relationship to journalism jobs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by StacDemon, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. StacDemon

    StacDemon New Member

    Hey all,

    I had a question on travel requirements when applying/seeking employment for beat reporter/editor/columnists jobs. I notice a lot of ads in the Jobs Posting board require that any applicant has to have a valid driver’s license.

    For medical reasons, I can not drive and wanted to know how much driving is needed to get the job done in this field. I assume in more rural areas, it is probably incredibly difficult to do the job without one. Is this a huge hurdle for me going forward? What about public transportation and is an urban area more amenable for my situation?

    I was just curious before I send resumes for future employment. Thanks for any help, tips, suggestions.
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    I imagine it would be tough, I can't tell you all the time I spent in cars during my reporting days. Lots and lots and lots of driving. There are ways around it, I suppose. We had one guy at my first paper who could drive but hated to do it. He'd do all kinds of things. Took a bus to a basketball game about 60 miles away once and then hitched a ride home with a referee.

    I had a couple of interns in DC who didn't have cars and they always managed to get where they needed to be.

    So yeah, it can be done but I'd be totally up front about it during any interviews.
    StacDemon likes this.
  3. If you live in a select few major cities (New York, DC, Boston, Chicago, Bay Area) you can absolutely get away with not having a car because there's transit that goes everywhere. Anywhere else, you probably need one. Depending on how your outlet is doing financially, you might be able to talk them into letting you expense ubers/lyfts or cab rides to some events. Even if you have to pay for all that stuff out of pocket, you might end up spending less money in the long run than all the expenses that come with owning a car (car payment, gas, insurance, repairs, etc.) It's not ideal but not completely impossible.
    StacDemon likes this.
  4. Tweener

    Tweener Well-Known Member

    If the job is covering a pro/college team -- their games, practices and away games, and writing features -- then it's certainly doable. But if you're just getting into the industry and the job is covering preps, a car is almost essential because you're going to have to report from more places than just one school/stadium/ballpark/arena, across a wide geographic area.
    StacDemon likes this.
  5. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    Your best bet is public transportation, but that carries risks, too. Even in cities with excellent bus service, there may be areas that the service stops after a certain time of day because there's no demand for the bus to run that route at those hours. You could be assigned a story, especially in sports, and simply not be able to get there at that time of day.

    However, if you pursue a job as a copy editor or page designer, you may have better luck with reliable transportation from your home to the newspaper office. You'll have a more structured work schedule which would help plan out bus routes. You may even be able to find a residence close enough to the office that you wouldn't need transportation.

    If journalism is something you want to pursue, a desk job might be your best bet if your health prevents you from driving.
    I Should Coco and StacDemon like this.
  6. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    Yup, this is where I've been since I started over four years ago, so I can relate. It sucks that my lack of driving is such a hindrance to advancing in the field, but it is what it is. I'm in a smaller community, but it's big enough to have decent public transportation to get me to the office, though I also rely on the generosity of coworkers when necessary. Have thought often about finding a place within walking distance of the office, but I also personally am unsure about how long I want to stay in this town so it'd be foolish to move if it isn't going to be a longterm thing.
    StacDemon likes this.
  7. StacDemon

    StacDemon New Member

    Thanks for all the replies. They were very helpful and I will take them into consideration when applying now. I appreciate it
  8. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    Have you considered moving to New York City. I had three aunts and uncles go into journalism. The most successful was an English major who after college moved to NYC, and then looked for a writing job. He wound up at a trade publication. The other two went the small town paper route. The uncle at the trade magazine made a lot more money than the small town journalists even after adjusting for the cost of living. New York does offer more journalism jobs than anywhere else in the country and you don't need a car.
  9. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    I can't imagine trying to perform any sports writing job covering a team without a car. It's almost impossible to do it without driving somewhere almost every day. Hopefully, you live in a big city or will be applying in metro type areas where public transportation is widely available. Good luck in your search! It is one of the greatest career paths on the planet!
  10. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Lancey is right, NYC is the best for mass transit and job opportunity.

    I second the idea, but it's crazy expensive and hypercompetitive here.

    Maybe look for the same attributes on a slightly smaller, more affordable scale in places like Minneapolis/St. Paul or Columbus or Buffalo.

    A big-league town, with a couple of D1 and D2 schools, Uber and Lyft and decent enough mass transit to get you around.

    Good luck.
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