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SE and sports reporter - (Hilton Head) Island Packet/Beaufort (S.C.) Gazette

Discussion in 'Journalism Jobs' started by JJHHI, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. JJHHI

    JJHHI Member

    Sports editor

    Sports writer

    My old job. Well, in a way, two of my old jobs. I started here as a reporter 6 1/2 years ago, worked my way up and took over as sports editor in January. Now I'm moving on to become the first SID and director of marketing for the athletics department at the local NAIA school. Yeah, going to the dark bright side. Coincidentally, one of my reporters also gave his notice, as has been expected for a while, to move back home to the Midwest. Nothing nefarious there, so put it out of your mind.

    The ads will tell you most of what you need to know, and chances are you probably already know about the Hilton Head/Beaufort area. Beautiful place, especially if you love the beach and can stand the heat in the summer. The office is in Bluffton, which is 20-30 minutes from Hilton Head, Beaufort and Savannah, depending on which part of town you're going from and to.

    It is a newspaper, so you can be sure things aren't quite as peachy as they were one, two or five years ago. The memories of what we once were — man, we were putting out an awesome section for a couple years there — probably skew my opinion of what we are now. The fact is we're still putting out a pretty damn strong section for a paper of our size. We cover the hell out of preps and the aforementioned NAIA school, and the RBC Heritage PGA Tour event is about as much fun as you could ever have working your tail off for a solid week.

    Section sizes have shrunk a bit, as you'd expect. We're now at 4 pages for Tuesday, 6 pages Wednesday through Saturday and 8 pages for Sunday, except in rare circumstances. That might seem like a lot of space for a small paper, but we have a unique readership in that it's a mix of natives and transplants from all over the place, so there's about as much interest in Ohio State, the Steelers and the Yankees as there is in the Gamecocks, the Jaguars and the Braves. That makes it tough to cut back on national stuff and means you're walking a tightrope some days between being an all-encompassing sports section and a local sports section with national filler around the local copy.

    The new SE will inherit a solid staff. An ASE and a copy editor who have been here for several years and know the ropes, and a solid young reporter who has been here a couple years. It will be tough with the SE and a new reporter starting at the same time, but it will also provide the new SE an opportunity to kind of rethink the structure of the department to meet the changing needs.

    If you've made it this far into my rambling mess, you must be interested in one of the jobs, and if you're committed to giving print journalism a go, you should be. The timing was right for me to get out — I have a young son at home and the perfect opportunity to make the transition came along — but this is still a good place with great people. Our office is one of the nicest newspaper buildings I've ever seen, the editor and executive editor are two of the best guys I've ever known, not to mention great bosses, and the staff is a bunch of fun people who are easy to get along with.

    You know the drill, hit me with a PM if you have specific questions. But be warned, I don't check in here all that often, so don't get discouraged if I take a while to get back to you.

    Best of luck.

    — Justin Jarrett
  2. ScottJBryan

    ScottJBryan Member

    JJ beat me to it. The Island Packet/Gazette have an outstanding sports section, and a lot of that has to do with Justin's work and the previous sports editor, now editor, Jeff Kidd. I can't say enough good things about Justin and Jeff. It's one of the best small daily newspapers in the country, you could work in a desirable area and cover a good sampling of sports.

    Congrats to Justin, as well. It sucks losing a guy as good as him in the newspaper biz, but I'm sure he'll enjoy spending time with his kid (who is incredibly cute based on the photos I've seen, so I assume he favors Mrs. Jarrett). Good gig. Good people. Good area.

    YGBFKM Guest

    Is this going to affect the paper's Drive-By Truckers coverage?
  4. JJHHI

    JJHHI Member

    No. But I will be getting paid for it now, as a freelancer. 8)

    YGBFKM Guest

    Right on.
  6. JJHHI

    JJHHI Member

    Because I can sense this question will come up a lot ...

    Can't say exactly how much copy editing and design work the reporters will be asked to do, because that will depend to some degree on the new SE and how he/she structures the department. I wouldn't expect it to be more than one shift per week with the possible addition of some weekly design work (for example, one reporter might be put in charge of the Thursday golf page or the Friday preps page).

    Up to now, reporters have not been asked to work the desk at all, except to take an occasional call-in shift, but we've gotten to the point where we don't have enough depth and flexibility on the desk to cover vacations, furloughs, sick days, etc.

    At any rate, I'll say this: If you're a young reporter and are resistant to learning design, you're doing yourself a disservice. You might not enjoy it, but it will help you gain a greater understanding of what makes a story more compelling in print, which will make you a better reporter. And it's a nice skill to have if/when you begin to formulate your newspaper escape plan.
  7. mjslovin91

    mjslovin91 Guest

    Bring your golf clubs. Beautiful courses down there.
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    My grandparents lived in Beaufort. Retired military and It was a great place to visit. Great fishing. There was a restaurant there called The Shrimp Shack that had these shrimp burgers that were to die for.

    I hadn't been there since the late 1980s when we put my grandfather in a home. I went back about a decade ago and it still looked amazing.

    I think they filmed The Great Santini there and one other 1980s film. I want to say The Big Chill, but I don't think that's right...

    Gorgeous place.
  9. JJHHI

    JJHHI Member

    Yes, The Big Chill was filmed in Beaufort. It says so in the job ad. Downtown Beaufort is fantastic. I'm looking forward to having more nights off to go over there for dinner and a stroll along the Waterfront Park.
  10. bigbadeagle

    bigbadeagle Member

    Wait ... there's DBTs coverage in the Packet?
    I always knew I liked that paper for some reason.
  11. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Great point. The more skills you can pick up, the better you'll be as this teetering lummox of a profession staggers forward.

    And congrats to JJHHI on the new gig.
  12. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    I learned to paginate quite early in my career and it still boggles the mind that some reporters don't or won't do it. In this economy, the more skills you bring to the table the more valuable you become. I have had plenty of days when I covered an event or wrote a feature in the afternoon and then laid out the section later that day.
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