1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Trouble moving from stringer to full-time

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by deezl18, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. deezl18

    deezl18 New Member

    Hey everyone, I'm new here to this topic has probably come up a bunch of times before, but I'm in need of advice from peers, not just my boss.  I graduated from Wake Forest this spring and I've been looking for a full-time job covering sports, and to be honest it's just not going well at all.  I've been working at the W-S Journal for 4 1/2 years, 2 as a clerk and the last two or so as a stringer.  I've got I'd say around 100 bylines between features, game stories, and previews.  I've done a couple stories for the Miami Herald as well, most recently covering the ACC Track Championships in April.  When my boss at the W-S Journal and I sat down to talk about jobs in March, he seemed to think I'd be fine and shouldn't settle immediately for a job in preps.

    Well I've been applying for the most part to openings posted on journalismjobs.com and some on the APSE site, and I'm getting, for the most part, no response, which makes me question whether or not I'm even getting a look.  And I'm not applying for big-time beats here, mostly a bunch of preps stuff recently.  Basically, I'm wondering what I need to do to break into the business full-time, because it seems the lack of full-time experience is making it awfully tricky to get that first full-time job. 

    I assume plenty of people have experienced this same situation, and if anyone on here has some advice on where I should go from here, let me know.  I'd really appreciate any help, and my email is anders@alumni.wfu.edu. 

    Again, sorry if this same thing has been said a million times, but I'm new to the boards and need a little direction.
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    You're Hired!

    (had to be said)
  3. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    First "gig" at The Journal?
    That sure beats me. I typed in/confirmed obits and slung horse agate as my first gig.
    You win.
  4. dmurph003

    dmurph003 Member

    It took me awhile to figure out why the Wall Street Journal would be covering the ACC Track Championships. Anyhow, it's difficult for anyone who isn't familiar with your work to dispense advice, which is why it'd probably be best to sit down with someone who knows your ability level and will provide you with an honest assessment.

    Find someone you respect who is established in the business, ask them what type of jobs you should be angling for, and go from there.

    If your boss thinks you'll be fine, then the next advice is to be patient and keep pounding the pavement.
  5. JME

    JME Member


    The market is terrible. You'd better be patient and willling to compromise.
  6. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    I don't think it is just a question of the market being terrible. Except for the late 1990s, I can't think of a time when it ever was easy trying to get a good job.

    First, I think you have to consider your bosses position. He's real happy having you as a stringer, getting decent stories when he wants, and not giving you a full-time position. That's working really well for him. The problem is it isn't working well for you.

    This is an old and tiring story - newspapers getting part-timers to work a lot of hours and never giving them a shot. Other people can also talk about their experience to back me up here.

    What you have to decide is what you want to do? It may very well be that your editor and your department at that newspaper may think of you in this role and that is the limit.

    It's your career and your ambition - nobody is going to give you anything.
  7. Apex

    Apex Member

    I believe he means the Winston-Salem Journal.
  8. deezl18

    deezl18 New Member

    Yeah, sorry, Winston-Salem Journal. Around here W-S is standard for Winston-Salem, but nationwide I think the Wall Street Journal is a tad more well known.

    Also, if this helps, I'm trying to get out of Winston (I've lived here my whole life and went to college here). So I have never really inquired too much about a full-time position at the Winston-Salem Journal, but I also don't think there's anything available, since all the guys have been locked in for 5+ years and don't show signs of leaving.

    But I appreciate the support and responses. A more specific question would be this: should I bother with the internet job sites (journalismjobs.com and the like), or am I really going to get much of a look if my resume doesn't show any full-time experience?
  9. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    Two of the four newspaper jobs I've had, and two other offers I turned down, were through leads from journalismjobs.com. So I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand. I also wouldn't rely on it solely. Are you checking the North Carolina Press Association Web site, as well as other state press associations?

    Have you applied to all the openings Down East? You've got a bunch of decent entry-level jobs in New Bern, Wilson and Jacksonville, and I'd be surprised if they weren't willing to bite a little on a Wake grad with decent clips from the W-S Journal. Similarly there seem to be some good jobs just over the border in Va.

    Are you expecting to get on at a larger paper right away? If so you might want to rethink that. I know I did when I thought I'd land at a decent size metro out of college. When September rolled around after a May graduation and I didn't have a job, I started looking at much smaller papers and it didn't take too long to get a couple of offers. At some point you've just got to get a job.

    Also, it'd be worth talking to your editor at the Journal and seeing if he can help you get into one of other MG papers if there aren't any openings coming soon in Winston. I see from that job board that Hickory has a sports opening and it was a couple of weeks ago that one of the small MG papers in Virginia was advertising.
  10. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    How much follow-up do you do after you send off your clips? If you don't call or e-mail to check if they got there, sometimes you fall by the wayside. Now, don't become obsessive about it and turn off any papers, but it never hurts (OK, rarely hurts) to make a quick call or, better yet, send off an e-mail saying how interested you are in the position and you wanted to make sure they got your clips and resume. If nothing else, you might be able to find out where you stand, and some editors might even give you some advice, telling you why they aren't interested if they're not and how you can improve your chances.

    Also, I know references can go a loooonnnngggg way in this business. Make sure you have good contacts, and if you don't, find a way to make some.
  11. Lollygaggers

    Lollygaggers Member

    Right on, JR, if you're getting no response back from any of these people, you absolutely have to follow up. Being a pest is not a good thing, but you want them to know your name and know your interest. It's part of an editor's job to handle that kind of stuff, and most of them will respond if you send a couple of e-mails or leave a voicemail. Plus, once they know your name, they might pass along your materials to someone they know. Who you know, and who they know, is always just as important (and sometimes more) than what you know, at least for getting your foot in the door.
  12. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    you're still in your college town ... go rectify your fuckup and get a business degree.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page