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Soon-to-be college grad seeking some advice from you seasoned vets

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by slatter, Mar 31, 2008.

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  1. slatter

    slatter Member

    Little background: I'm a senior at the University of Maryland graduating this May in print journalism. I've worked hard to bolster my resume as someone who is entering the world of sports journalism. Internships with Inside Lacrosse Magazine, USA TODAY and a few other places have made me feel pretty prepared to enter the business.

    Fast forward to now: However, as the job hunting has crept up on me, I've tried to stay ahead of the game. I've sent out multiple packets of resume/cover letter/five clips to newspapers all over the place. Fifty papers, to be exact. A lot of these places were just within the mid-Atlantic region or papers with a circulation in my range (~50k daily).

    I have gotten 0 callbacks. Am I doing something wrong? I've sent out 50 packets, visited JournalismJobs to find sports reporter openings, and nobody is getting back to me. I realize the timing is awkward because I'm not available until the beginning of June and it's January-March when I've been sending these out. There's probably no way these places will know if they will have a spot in June if it's only March.

    I know you guys have a lot of experience in the area, and many have been in my shoes years ago. Please point me in the right direction. What am I doing wrong? Is calling these places going to be too pushy? I'm simply not ready to give up the dream of being the next great sports writer. :'(
  2. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    Be patient. When I was job hunting last year, I started sending stuff out after the first of the year, and didn't really start hearing back until early April, about eight weeks before I was available to start.

    If a place had a job open in February, they probably wanted to fill it before May. No knock on you. Keep mailing stuff out. Anywhere. Everywhere. It sounds like you have a good resume. Somebody will be interested.

    Although in this job climate, it may not be wise to limit yourself to 50k papers. Don't be too proud to start at a 20k and work your way up.
  3. sportsnut

    sportsnut Member

    Run as far as you can from this business and go into law. That is the response that the 90 other topics with the same kinda subject line got from SportsJournalists.com.

    The thing is contacts is a big part of the business and if you want to get a job all you got to do is keep trying and you will get the call back and the job offer that you want from putluck times. You will get it because the other 200 people who applied wanted more money and you did not because you got desperate and hungry.

    try going for the online outlets. They need people all the time to work on small stuff and then you can move up. Have you tried the community newspapers in your area? Maybe cover preps or JC or something of that nature?
  4. slatter

    slatter Member

    I've started realizing that 50k is not necessarily the end-all-be-all for applying places, and applied to smaller places across the country. I don't want to start at a weekly, though. And law is definitely not for me. ;D
  5. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't necessarily knock working at a weekly. Of course, that's because I'm working at one right now. I'm not going to be too specific, but I work very near your university.

    Like Jones recently said about magazine writing, working at a weekly isn't easier than working at a daily. It's a different kind of hard. You have to write copy that's going to be compelling even a few days after it's already been in the daily. Or you have to write more quickly for the Web edition and expand on it for print.

    Even if your first job out of the university isn't the place of your dreams, look into freelance gigs at other papers.
  6. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    How about IT? Retail? Library science?
  7. slatter

    slatter Member

    C'mon. Barring any unforeseen ridiculous scenarios, my dream is to report on sports.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Are you sure the scenarios are necessarily ridiculous. Times are pretty bleak in the print business.
  9. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    We've hired one person in the last five years. We've "voluntarily separated" with 13.
  10. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    don't worry about trying to be great

    try to be good every day
  11. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Active Member

    How many places have you followed up with? Remember you're the one who wants to get hired, so you should be doing the work, not them. I'm a recent grad and was in a similar position, though it was after graduation, so you are a step ahead of the game. I sent packets out to about 30 place. I heard back from four unsolicited. Three of the places that contacted me brought me in for an interview and I'm currently working at one of those places. The other was the daily paper in the town where my State U was located. The editor knew me from covering college events together, so he e-mailed me to say I didn't get a job. I assume I got this from him because we had previously worked together. Bottom line is if you know want to know where you stand you should make contact with the editors or recruiters and ask what your status is. In your case, you might want to see if they want updated clips or ask them to critique your stuff. That way it's an ongoing conversation until you graduate. I would e-mail them instead of calling because then they can respond on their own time and there is less of a chance that you interupt them. I did this to the majority of places I applied to and about a third of the editors responded. Granted, most / all of the responses were rejections, but at least by sending them a quick e-mail I knew where I stood and didn't have to stand around hoping my phone would ring.
  12. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

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