1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Question regarding college

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by irnsdn, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. irnsdn

    irnsdn New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I don't post too often - mostly I just read the board - but I was curious to get some insight on a dilemma I have.

    I'm a high school senior and I'll be majoring in Communication (concentrating in multimedia journalism). I'm attending a small liberal arts school, and I've been in touch with the Athletics Communication Director at the school. He would like me to help write media guides, write some content on the sporting events for the athletic website, and work for him. I asked him about writing for the school's paper, and he said he thinks I should write for him first and then see if I am able to balance the two (i.e slowly work into the paper if they let me write a few articles here and there, and then decide if I can do both). However, he seems very keen on the idea that I'll be writing solely for him and not the school's paper.

    To be honest, I think the paper would suit me better for the career path I want to follow (on line/print journalism), but I also want to be involved in writing about the athletics. In my opinion (this will sound arrogant), I have the potential to be a strong writer (I've also become strong at networking, and my ambition has paid off well in terms of having the opportunities to cover D1 football games). The downside for me is that my school does not have a paper - I attend a small high school and we don't have a set "newspaper" class. I feel like I really need to focus on fundamentals - one of my problems being the use of apostrophes, and small, but significant details.

    So after getting off topic, I guess what I'm asking is:

    Should I take the job with the media relations guy - or should I write for the paper, which will help me with fundamentals?

    I hope I wrote this post in the correct place - if not, feel free to move it to the right forum so I can get responses there.

    Thanks everyone for reading this long post and your help!
  2. BRoth

    BRoth Member

    Unless you need money and get paid for your work with the communications director, I don't see a reason not to focus on the paper, if that's what you want to do. I doubt you'd get the real experience you're looking for helping write up content for the athletics site.

    Then again, you've got four years and why not do both?

    YGBFKM Guest

    Take the job. You will learn a lot more about the real world working a job. But I'm curious as to why you think the guy offering the steady work doesn't want you to work for the newspaper. If that's true, that's problematic. I'm guessing, though, if you explain you'd like to write some for the paper as well, you can work out an arrangement. As mentioned previously, you've got plenty of time to do a number of things, so don't sweat it too much. But in my opinion, you shouldn't pass up the opportunity to work in a real-world environment on a consistent basis. A word of warning, though. It's very, very easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the job to the detriment of school. DO NOT do that. Get as much outside experience as you can, but get your degree. Otherwise, you'll end up 20 years later trying to finish your course work and wishing you wouldn't have gotten lost in your work so long ago.
  4. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    Wrap your rascal.

    Oh, wait. Why not write for the SID because you'll get game stories out of it as well?
  5. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I'd say try to do both at least some time during college. The work for the athletic department won't hurt, but if you just do that, then it could be hard to get newspaper work down the line.

    No rush, though, on trying to figure out what you want to do.
  6. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Work for the SID. Arrange it so you can spend summers at the student paper. If you can't, then make your choice. Major in something other than journalism

    Good luck to you.
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Work for the SID. It's a bird in the hand, man, and a damned pretty one at that.
    If you're interested in covering sports down the line for a newspaper, you'll gain invaluable experience into how everything works (how interviews are set up and conducted, press conference decorum, pre- and postgame routines, etc.). You can also write some gamers and features for the school website and hone your writing. You don't have to do it for all four or five years you're in school, but if you're new to journalism it'd probably benefit you greatly to do it for a year or two.
    Plus, depending on how many papers cover your school, you can network with the beat writers and maybe get some stringing jobs at the local daily. It's a good way to get your foot in the door.

    Also, the SID might not be keen on you doing both jobs because:
    A) It's a bit of a conflict of interest; the editors of the paper might not be too keen on it either.
    B) The SID gig, especially if you're a young peon, can be a very time-consuming job. Most of the time, I'm going to guess you're at a game two hours before and after plus at a lot of practices. It might be a lighter workload for a student worker because of labor laws and school rules, but you're still going to be putting in A LOT of time for the SID.
  8. Karl Hungus

    Karl Hungus Member

    If you want to hone your writing skills, work for the SID.

    1. I don't know what the school is, or what the newspaper's connection is the school of communications (if there is one), but it's possible that there may not be much in terms of a faculty advisor, or strong leadership. You're obviously a young writer that wants to use your college years working on your craft. So, to that end...
    2. The SID will likely (and again, this depends on the school) help you become a better nuts-and-bolts writer. At first, I could see somebody like you writing a men's tennis recap, or a track & field story. Those events, especially the ones that take place from afar, can really drive home the basics of who, what and where (not why). Plus the SID will probably keep a watchful eye on you, in terms of copy editing your writing.

    The journalism part, if that's what you want to do, is something you can learn down the road. The basic writing is something that you can benefit from early. SIDs write a lot, and write quickly. It's a great way to get thrown into the fire and learn a lot that can help you in a lot of ways down the road.
  9. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Why would someone just want to write about track and field?
  10. irnsdn

    irnsdn New Member


    Thanks for your help. I kept switching my mind about this, but now I have more to work with in my thought process. I appreciate it.
  11. The way I see it, this sports info opportunity is open now, and the college newspaper isn't going anywhere.

    I see no reason why a college paper wouldn't pick you up on the basis that you worked with the sports department. There is a conflict of interest in working for both at the same time, so I would avoid that.

    Four or five years is a long time. By 2015, you could be a devout Hare Krishna or a chemistry grad student, so whatever you do, don't fret about a career path just yet.

    Edit: I noticed you didn't mention contacting the paper. If you haven't done that, it might make this decision a little easier.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page