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Resume for Stringer Jobs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Greg Pickel, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Greg Pickel

    Greg Pickel Member

    Hey everyone,

    I'm new here. I am a Junior in high school, so while 99 percent of the jobs here are way out of my league, our The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, PA offers some stringer jobs every once in a while.

    I currently write for a local town newspaper which publishes weekly and probably has a 1000 readers a week, give and take. When applying to be a string for a job at this bigger paper, what should I submit? My entire resume? Just clips? Any help would be greatly appreciated, and I hope this question does not seem to basic. You can e-mail me if you'd like to pass some tips on that way. Thanks in advance!
  2. Prospero

    Prospero Member

    Greg, what you're thinking about doing is pretty much how I got my start in '86. The profession has changed quite a lot since then, obviously, but one thing has not: Most news organizations, especially small to mid-sized newspapers, need bodies to cover high school sports. Many are willing to use high school students, as long as the high school student has a professional demeanor.

    Others might give you different advice, but here's what I would do in your situation:

    Learn who at the paper is responsible for hiring sports correspondents. It might be the sports editor or a high school sports editor or maybe a lead high school sports columnist or writer. You might already know the answer, but if you don't, you can call the paper's switchboard to find out, and you might even be able to get a direct phone number for that person and the best time to call. When you make that initial call to find out the name, ask whether you should e-mail your resume package or snail-mail it. Find out the best e-mail address and/or mailing address, which might not be the same as those listed on the paper's Web site. Don't call the hiring agent yet, though. Once you've got a name and number, put together a sampling of your best clips. Four or five should be enough, although the quantity doesn't matter as much as the quality. Choose stories that prove you can write on tight deadline, as well as longer feature pieces. Then, copyedit your resume. Make sure it would get an A-plus in resume class. Now you're ready to make the call. If you get voice mail, tell the editor briefly that you called to find out whether the newspaper needs stringer help covering high schools, that you have experience working for a weekly publication and you are available if needed. Leave your contact information and wait two days. If you haven't heard back, call again. Persistence is important, but try not to make yourself a pest. If you do have to leave another message, though, make sure you sound pleasant and professional. Now, if you get through on the first try, tell the editor you're willing to do whatever the paper needs, including taking calls in the office at night. Ask if it's OK to send a resume package. Don't be shy about asking the pay scale, either, although don't make that the first (or even the fourth or fifth) question. You need money, sure, but the experience and the contacts are the important things at this stage of your career. If the editor says it's cool to send the resume, write a brief cover letter thanking the editor for taking the time to talk to you. Even if the editor says to keep your resume to yourself for another year or two, write a letter thanking the editor for taking the time to talk to you. And copyedit that letter until you can recite it in your sleep. Nothing kills a job opportunity quicker than a typo in the resume or cover letter.

    Good luck, Greg, and I hope this helps.
  3. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    I know some guys at The Patriot News sports desk. Just mention Boom and it will open many doors for you.
  4. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    but when you mention Boom, do NOT add "goes the dynamite."
  5. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    If you are eager and willing to learn, I'm betting they'll find a spot for you. We look for correspondents all the time and get very few responses.
    Good luck.
  6. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    As crusty as a lot of old sportswriters and SEs are, they usually have a fondness for ambitious kids who want to break into the business.

    They understand what that's like.

    As long as you're willing to work hard and take direction, I'll bet they'll do their best to help you.
  7. Greg Pickel

    Greg Pickel Member

    Thanks for the tips, guys!

    I'm going to put this thing in motion once the new year begins, and we'll see what happens.

    Boom- The sports editor has changed within the last year. Do you know the new guy?
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Main things I want to know before using a stringer (which would primarily be for covering live high school and other events on deadline):

    1. Have you ever covered this sport and had to file the story within 2 hours.

    2. Do you have the equipment (laptop, wifi connection, etc.) to be able to send the story quickly?

    3. Are you free to cover games nights and weekends?
  9. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Ssh. I don't want to scare them off.
  11. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    4. Do you like cats?
  12. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    the weekends thing is very big. A lot of people who contact me about stringing aren't willing to work fridays and saturdays, days when i need them the most.
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