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Three things you would have done differently

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pringle, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    You aren't allowed to say, "Not gone into journalism."

    I figured there are a lot of young journalists seeking help threads here, and what better way than for them to learn from our experience?

    (1) Gone into news instead of sports. Better hours. More options. More important stories (though not always better stories for story's sake, I admit).

    (2) Pursued more prestigious internships during the summers in college. This seems to be how the big papers hire.

    (3) Projected more professionalism right off the bat. I think it's tough for a 22-year-old to gain the respect and trust of his/her sources. So try to look and act 10 years older. If I had it to do over again: No jeans. No untucked shirts. No hangovers. Short hair. No gut. Dress shoes. Etc., etc. Just would have been very meticulous about projecting an air of impeccable professionalism.
  2. Situation

    Situation Member

    Now that I'm out of the business ...

    1) Ask for more autographs of athletes and coaches to give to my girlfriends so I would have gotten laid more.

    2) Taken breaks of 20 consecutive minutes, as mandated by law.

    3) Tweeted pics of my gentalia to Little League moms.
  3. DK

    DK Member

    Fortunately I started at a big-boy paper and everyone there always dressed the part. Lot of guys wore ties, too. So I did the same even as a college student learning the ropes there so I always looked like a pro.

    My one do-over wish was where I was reassigned from a college beat to the desk. I now wish I would have quit on the spot. I eventually got an NFL beat job back but it empowered the bosses to dump on me because they knew I would take it. When I got married in '96 my new no-nonsense New York wife was absolutely amazed by the stories I'd bring home about the boob of a sports editor running the department and idiot editor. She finally advised me one day to tell them both to kiss my ass in Macy's window. I did--and got myself a new job with more responsibility for twice the salary at another newspaper within a year. Leaving there was the best thing I ever did...I waited too many years to do it.

    And I've been out of the business three years as well. Don't miss it.
  4. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    1) I wouldn't have gotten engaged at 19 (luckily didn't get married, but what a waste of money on a ring!)

    2) I would have taken the TV sports job away from home instead of the TV news job in my hometown or of college.

    3) Drink 1 beer less and not eat junk before bed every time I went out. Could have saved me a inch or two on the waist line
  5. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    1. Enjoyed it more (especially the editor's niece all those years ago)

    2. Tried to write more for other sections, and consider News (courts, cops, general) more of an option

    3. Not been afraid to move to other parts of the country, explore, expand and escape that comfort zone as a 20- and 30-something until I found the "right" place to put down roots

    To expand on that a little, if you live in a smaller town near Big City Paper and have always dreamed of working for it then get the hell away. Go somewhere else. Take the job in New Mexico or North Dakota or BFE Florida. Grow up a little. Make some mistakes. Expand your horizons. Get away from your friends. Get away from Mommy, Daddy and the girlfriend who plays the guilt card. Go see things with an open mind and soak them up.

    Then come back to Big City Paper, if you still want to.
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I would have stayed longer at the paper where I learned the most. I hated living there, but it would have been worth it. Also the paper had less office politics than anywhere else, and I spent the next two decades looking for someplace that matched it.

    Would have moved to news-side a lot sooner. Nothing against sports sections, but I was ready for a change. Got to have a small role in the editing of something that won a Pulitzer, and the bin Laden overnighter was cool to be in on (although we also drafted the considerable talents of the lead sports designer for the Extra edition).

    There were a few times when I just should have STFU. Not given up, but fought another day.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I wish I would have gotten out earlier.

    My last two years there was a new layoff rumor almost weekly. It's no way to live.
  8. Walter Burns

    Walter Burns Member

    1. Tried to become a little more well-rounded in college, maybe taken a broadcast class or two and/or a PR class or two. At the time, I never thought I would work anywhere but a newspaper.

    2. Like someone else said, take a shot at some more big-deal internships. The idea of going more than two hours from my hometown never even occurred to me until my senior year, and I think that was my loss.

    3. Tried to get out a little more in the big city when I started out young, thinner and single. I feel like I left so much unexplored.
  9. joe

    joe Active Member

    Be a better reporter, the wellspring. My writing was pretty decent, but my reporting was for shit. There's at least three stories from nearly 20 years ago that I would write completely different if given the chance today, three stories that I could be proud of. I'm a much better reporter these days, but I could still be so much better than I am.

    The rest is inconsequential.
  10. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    1) Stayed in broadcasting but moved over to TV. The hours as a sports reporter would have been much better for this night owl than in radio.

    2) Taken a better internship.

    3) Moved from this job after about 3 years. It wasn't my goal to be here this long and now I'm starting to feel like I've been pigeon-holed as "small-town jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none."
  11. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    - tooted my own horn (I know its easy to expect the higher ups to read the paper and notice the work you are doing, but sadly - that's not always the case).
    - Seek out more mentors and get feedback on what you are doing from someone within the newsroom.
    - Not say yes every damn time. Hint: alternate between yes and no. They'll appreciate the yes answers more and not take them for granted.
  12. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    1. I would have gone to college at Big State U., rather than the mid-major Division I school I attended. I had a good academic and professional experience in college, doing work for the campus paper and radio station, but because no big media outlets ever covered us, my fellow student reporters and I never rubbed elbows with anyone who had any connections. It made the networking that is so essential in our business more difficult.

    2. I would have continued pursuing a copyediting job that seemed like it was there for the taking with a website. I had a good phone interview, and they were interested in speaking to me further after that, but I removed myself from consideration because of the lousy pay for the high-priced location. In other words, I'd have been living in squalor, while I worked all hours of the night and had no life. Sort of like now. But I can't help but wonder where it might have led if I'd ended up with that job.

    3. I would have found a way to take some classes while I spent three years working in a college town. Deep inside, it was something I wanted to do, but I always talked myself out of it because I felt like I simply didn't have the time to do it while I was reporting. I'm pretty sure if I'd done that, I'd be doing something else right now.
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