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Size vs. job type

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by OrangeGrad, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. OrangeGrad

    OrangeGrad Member

    For those who have been in the business for a while, I was wondering your thoughts on which is more important -- the size of the paper you've worked at or your beat experience? Let's say this is the situation....

    Your goal is to work as a baseball beat reporter at one of the top metro dailies. To get to your goal, are you better off working as a general assignment reporter or preps reporter at one of the top 75 newspapers in circulation or should you work at a paper with a circulation of about 30K or 40K and cover a minor league squad? What do you think is the better route to achieve your goal?
  2. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    I'm not an editor, but I would guess that covering the minor league squad for a smaller paper would be the right way to go. It gives you experience covering a beat and the opportunity to build a strong reputation as a beat person.
    Plus, if you can get a job in the city of the parent organization of the minor league team you covered and some of the guys you covered made the team, it could help in the clubhouse.
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I don't think covering a minor league team is going to help much because you won't be competing against anyone, so you can't really show that you can break news while competing against top reporters. But lots of people who had major pro beats on smaller papers that take staffing the pros seriously have moved to pro beats on larger papers. If you break even a couple things a year, the larger papers in the market notice.
  4. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    If the larger paper has a good track record of promoting from within, then that might be the best option. They can "test drive" you as a third reporter for big series as a notes guy or something similar. I've known writers to make the jump from preps guy to MLB writer in less than two years, although defections played a role in it.

    That being said, if you cover the minor league team like a major-league beat (go on the road, gamers and notes, etc.) that can show that you know how to keep your head about you when the pressure is on.

    I'd say working your way up is probably more likely, but covering a minor league team isn't bad.
  5. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    If you're in a big enough chain, covering the minor leagues can certainly lead to the big leagues. Gannett's Phillies beat writer Scott Lauber covered the Binghamton Mets for a few years before he moved to the Philly area.
  6. Grey

    Grey Member

    been on both sides of this fence. i don't think a minor league beat at a small paper helps u much. as a young writer, i'd recommend trying to get to a major paper regardless of the beat(s). u can always try and work your way into sider help from MLB games as u grow. but the main thing is u will likely actually have folks u respect who will help u along the way. that's something -- strong advice and guidance -- u probably will not get at a smaller paper unless there's a strange circumstance (an older jim dandy working there bc it's close to home or something). also, getting your foot in the door at a major place always is a good thing. looks good on the resume, too.
  7. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Frank makes an excellent point here. Even if you're on a beat where you're not facing a lot of competition, you should still pressure the hell out of yourself to break news. It's real easy to get complacent and say, 'well, no one else is going to get this, so I shouldn't work that hard to break it.' BS. You owe it to yourself and your readers to break as much news as possible, regardless of the level of competition on the beat.
  8. scalper

    scalper Member

    This is basic, but needs to be said:

    1. It's who you know.
    2. It's what you know.

    Being at the bigger paper is better for contacts and probably affords more opportunity to learn, too. If you're breaking stories at a better paper, that will mean more than owning the minor-league baseball beat at some small-time rag. And minor-league baseball is much easier to cover than a competitive preps beats. As an editor, I'd look at the kick-ass preps writer before the guy who did a nice job on the Class A baseball team.
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