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Staff Writer vs ME

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by travis5mith, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. travis5mith

    travis5mith New Member

    While not "young," I took the long route through college and am 25 with my first gig as a staff writer at a 20,000 circulation daily. I'm three months in, and they offered me a transfer to ME of a 3,000 circ weekly. ME sounds cool and all, but I'm getting farther and farther from sports and a would make a significant downsize in circ and coverage area size. Sports are where my passion is, hands down. A guy can only write so many features over locals before he loses his mind. Advice?

    I think this belongs in here, if not I'll move it.
  2. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Just one point of view: You're only 25, and you've still got plenty to learn about the craft. You'll learn more as a worker bee at the 20,000 daily than as a boss at the 3,000 weekly.
    Bronco77, SFIND and travis5mith like this.
  3. travis5mith

    travis5mith New Member

    That is exactly what my initial thought was as well. I am just not sure how much different a future employer would see a staff writer as opposed to an ME, at all. Completely ignorant to the fact.
  4. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I'd negotiate the hell out of the offer. Find out exactly what you would get, what the expectations are and what the vision of the weekly is. Don't get dazzled by the title, ask why they sought you out over others who have been at the daily longer. No offense, but if the ME gig is desirable, I'd expect they never would have had to come to you and someone else would have jumped at it.
    travis5mith likes this.
  5. travis5mith

    travis5mith New Member

    The ME that was there transferred to my current location a few weeks ago, and both papers are in the same region. We currently have a small staff of 5, one other guy with my same age/experience, and two who have been planted there for 15+ years. They gave the whole, "hire from within first" spill. Hell, I don't even know what it is I need to be negotiating! ha.
  6. SFIND

    SFIND Active Member

    I agree with reformedhack. Also, I'll add the token "being the boss ain't everything it's cracked up to be" comment.
    reformedhack and travis5mith like this.
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I forget which legendary poster here said it, but some of the best advice I've read on SJ.com is, "Don't fuck with happy."
    It's good to see that, at 25 years old and with only three months in the business, you're aware enough to realize that this might not be the best move personally and professionally for you. I applaud you for that. A lot of people with a lot more experience never figure that part out.

    Having a management position on your resumé is never a bad thing, but if you want to do sports -- and all other things are equal, like pay and hours -- then stick with sports. If you're going to be miserable at the ME job and looking to bail in six months, which sounds like it might be the case, then steer clear of it.
    About a year ago, I had an opportunity at my shop to take a news editor position. It took me about two seconds to realize I'd be working close to the same hours, for not much more money (it was a salaried position), and still having to write stories and editorials except about stuff I didn't care one-tenth as much about. I turned it down in the same conversation it was offered and haven't regretted it. I'm still in the same job working long hours (which isn't going to change no matter where you go in this business), but am making more through overtime pay than I would've gotten in the news editor position, and still get to write stories I'm knowledgeable and passionate about.
    Again, don't fuck with happy.
  8. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Given the state of the newspaper industry I'd be wary. Everything the others have said on this thread about being a boss, etc is true. But the flip side is they might be trying to get you to take the other position knowing your current staff writer job might be on the chopping block.

    I'm not trying to scare you, but I've been in a similar spot. Ask your boss how secure your current job is before you turn down the other one.
  9. travis5mith

    travis5mith New Member

    Can I throw another wrench into situation - the Pub just announced that he is taking a job at another paper. Again, my first gig guys and gals, but it seems kinda fishy with the sudden offer and him leaving?

    Batman, your post is money and I'm going to put that quote on a sticky note somewhere on my desk. Ha. In my current position I'm not handling sports either, mainly filler features and a little freedom to dig around for hard news.
  10. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Good advice on here and I'll add my usual 1.94 cents. What would the new job pay and how many hours a week would you be expected to work to earn it compared to your current gig?
    travis5mith likes this.
  11. sportsed

    sportsed Member

    At the risk of being the contrarian here, I'd suggest that you seriously consider the new job offer. At this stage in your career, it should be all about gaining experiences. Writing filler features and the chance to do the occasional hard news story is fine and dandy, but that's probably not going to get you to your dream job. However, the chance to think big picture while overseeing a publication no matter its circulation is a chance to gain experiences you won't find in your current job. You're going to gain some valuable skills, such as programming the publication, making story assignments to freelancers and selling the content with compelling design and headline treatments. You'll also be the face of the publication. Sure, working autonomously has its challenges, so be sure to seek out mentors and feedback from colleagues at your sister publications. The one thing you know for sure is that it'll be a lot of hard work, but it also has the potential to be career defining, setting you on a trajectory that you never imagined.
    travis5mith likes this.
  12. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    I'm 35 and I would take a paycut to move to a 9-to-5.

    Taking the ME job might help get you toward that eventually but if that's not your end game, then what's the point?
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