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Start at big newspaper in news or small for sports?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ATLHawksComeback, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. House

    House Guest

    Truer words were never spoken.

    Also, if you let on that you can do desk work at a smaller daily, you'll be filling in for everyone who either A) wants vacation, B) quits or C) takes vacation, then quits.
  2. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    Your first sentence is the correct advice.  The first half of the second might be as well, but after that it's all downhill. You're throwing a lot of "small-paper lifers" in one big pile.  Just because you chose a different track, doesn't make you superior to others who chose otherwise.   :mad:

    Oh, one more thing.  "Quality product" needs a modifier.  Example:  I've seen some poor quality turned out by people who took "option A".
  3. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member


    Had a similar situation when I finished up a news internship. I chose to stay on the newsside and cover politics -- which was another passion of mine.

    Expand your boundaries a bit while you're still young. Take the news job and see how it pans out.

    As far as copy editing goes, I'd try to avoid that if you're really wanting a writing gig. I've seen too many people get on a desk and stay there.
  4. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    take A.

    as for copy editing as a road to enter reporting, tread carefully. some papers are happy to "promote" copy editors to writing jobs (no offense to deskers who don't see themselves as lower than writers). others do it about once a decade. for the most part, they won't want you as a copy editor if they know you have one foot out the door so it's tough to really find out what type of paper this is -- whether it's the kind that lets you move or not. but most copy editors i know who wanted to write had a heckuva time getting off the desk and many never did.
  5. SoCalScribe

    SoCalScribe Member

    Take the first option (A). A major metro will likely give you a liveable salary and benefits as well as a great foundation for your career. Some small shops do that, too, but manydon't even attempt to do so.

    People do move from full-time metro to full-time sports. It's certainly not commonplace, but it does happen. And if you demonstrate yourself to be a good enough news writer, it shouldn't be that hard for you to transition to sports, especially if you're willing to move a rung down the circulation ladder.

    My advice if you take option A would be to keep your hat in the ring by working high-school football games this fall (chances are very good that a major metro's sports section would love to have your help rather than trying to find a 16th stringer for a given week) and doing other sportswriting whenever possible. If your shop allows you to work for other publications, perhaps you could freelance sports on the side to build contracts and keep a decent file of sports clips.

    In the end, I'd just remind you that many people work for years or even decades to reach a major metro. Many never make it. So, I'd be hesistant to turn down that offer...it's a great springboard for you and should help keep your skills sharp and varied.
  6. Smokey33

    Smokey33 Member

    I'm sure there are some small-paper lifers who are competent. But for the most part, people whose career paths end at sub-15,000 papers aren't very good at their jobs, many times because they just don't care.
  7. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

  8. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    A, but not for the money or the prestige of working at the bigger paper. A because you want to have good habits codified in the workplace, and that's a lot more likely to happen at a large newspaper than a small one (smaller papers are more likely to let things like advertisers and family of the publisher dictate the amount and tenor of coverage). Even if you land at the worst 200K in the country, you'll have plenty of opportunity to learn through osmosis from some truly fine reporters; at the smaller paper, unless it takes on the role of a teaching newspaper, you're a lot more likely to find people who will introduce bad habits and ridicule you for good ones (happened to me when I went from PT at a 200 to FT at a 15). You can always move down, and if you have FT experience at a 200, you should have your pick of smaller papers if you do that. But try jumping from a 15 to a 200 without a whole lot of dominoes falling at the right time. A without hesitation.
  9. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    Neither. Go for the big newspaper in sports. Like the 300K circ.-plus variety. And jump right into covering a Major League Baseball, NBA, NFL, or big-time college football or basketball beat.
  10. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Good one, petitcher. I like that.
  11. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    Come on, now. You'd have to be Pickle Juice to pull something like that off.
  12. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    I'm trying my damnedest to be civil here.  Not too many married sportswriters with families are going to cart their family around the country chasing after a $5,000 raise -- especially if their spouses are the bigger breadwinners.  I know some top-notch writers who for one reason or the other -- and not due to a perceived poor quality of their work -- are at a small outfit, and will one day retire from stated small shop.  Don't make the mistake of painting with a broad brush
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