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Unrealistic expectations of the business?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 85bears, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    house, maybe you should excuse yourself from conversations such as this. on another thread, you've already stated you don't respect the fact you're a sports writer and can't wait to leave this end of the profession and get into news.

    some of these guys are pouring their souls out on this thread, and to be quite honest, sports guys (people) are different than news guys (people). for a great many of us, 'we absolutely aren't our jobs,' but at the same time, our jobs do make up a part of defining us.

    any day now you can get back into news, a more county-job-like approach to being a part of the journalism profession. i'm not trying to be rude here, but it's obvious you don't get what drives sports guys (people) into being sports guys (people).
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If this is a thread about wondering how you can get ahead like others, then you have to show people you can not only do your job, you can do the next one.

    If you are a part-time writer at a large paper, be indispensible. Always be underfoot. Let them know you want to show that you can do the job when there is a full-time opening. But be aware that this isn't the easiest way to a job.

    Part-time writers and freelancers are in the slow lane. Recent college grads are in the fast lane.

    If you are at a weekly or small paper and want to move up. You've got to do more than just cover the games and do the roundups. Sink your teeth into stories. Be pround of what you do. Never try to write the same story twice with different names and teams. Always look for an angle. Break news.

    Do that and you'll move up.
  3. boots

    boots New Member

    Ace is right. In other words. Pay your dues.
  4. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Very, very well stated.

    Hey, I understand the other position. It was my dad's. He liked to say, "Your job is what you do so you can afford to do what you really LIKE when you're not working." And it sounded like the sensible way to look at it at the time.

    But not every job can be looked upon that way, or should. And ours is one of them. If you don't have passion for it, your upward mobility is going to indicate it. And it's going to be very difficult to relate to your co-workers, because there are a lot more of them who love their job than don't.

    Me? If I had to cover school-board meetings, I wouldn't be working eight hours and one minute. I'd be watching the clock like a hawk.
  5. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Tom, I dig your songs, but not your opinion of news-siders. On the thread the other day about "jumping to news," you said newsies lack the work ethic of sports writers. Now you compare news side work to a "county-job." (I'm not sure what that means, but I suspect it's not a compliment).

    I agree that some people on news desks underestimate what sports can be like, but let's not get carried away here.

    Yes, you guys have tough deadlines and lousy hours and often have to file multiple stories a day. I, a newsie, work more or less regular hours and usually get home for dinner, though I, too, often have to file multiple stories a day.

    But in sports, most of what you're writing about unfolds in front of you and you can then go talk to the participants about it, and they're generally willing to talk. Also, preps and maybe small colleges excluded, you have all the stats you could ever possibly need supplied to you immediately by a cadre of helpful flacks.

    In news, there are certainly some obvious and easy stories. But many, the good ones typically, are not. You're chasing rumors, connecting dots, trying to figure out which statistics and sources to believe, cajoling and wheedling information out of people who'd really rather not help you and getting a lot of doors slammed in your face. It's not quite a desk job at the DMV.

    I'm not saying newsies are somehow "better" than sports reporters. There are plenty of hacks on both desks. But don't give me the implication that sports work is somehow morally superior to news, either. That's bullshit.
  6. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    Works for me.
  7. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    I think, Irish, the point is that it's a lot easier to love what you're doing on the sports side than on the news side. Some of the things you stated underline that.
  8. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    Not sure who you're targeting with this speech, but anyone who argues otherwise really needs to get better rounded about our biz.
  9. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    Here's what happens to a lot of bright-eyed journalists. They turn 40 and as you say, suffering for one's art doesn't seem so noble.
    By that age, they have likely come to the conclusion that most papers consider editorial space just an ad they couldn't sell.
    They also realize, after interviewing many people in significant positions in a variety of industries, that they are either smarter or as intelligent as the vast majority making more money than they are.
    At age 40, many might be divorced after devoting so much time and energy into something they considered important.
    The disillusionment comes when they realize that the management above them - and I mean above sports editors - doesn't really consider it important. In fact, management will refer to it as the "expenditure" side of the business, as opposed to advertising, the "revenue" side.
    That means when there are cuts, and inevitably there are cuts, its is expenditure that gets it, not revenue.
    Any way, by age 40, sometimes a severe disillusionment can set in that "I've chosen the wrong path, I'm making less than I should, I screwed up my personal life, and I'm approaching the "too old to hire."
    Sounds harsh, but I've seen it.
    Might even be feeling it.
  10. House

    House Guest

    Whether news or sports is more important or easier or harder is just a matter of opinion. Tom and I disagree and that's okay.

    I just wanted to weigh in that with a different outlook, things don't seem so bleak.

    If a writer wants to pour his whole life into a job and be the best he can, good for him. But he should realize that few people make it "big." He'll eventually hit a ceiling and then the things that EE94 said will come into play.

    I'm happy knowing that I will likely not turn out that way.
  11. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    Making it big. Is that what's important?
    Even the smallest, dinkiest, low man on the Podunk Press laddder can affect people's lives through the power of the written word.
  12. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Thanks for the heads-up. It's a relief, at least to me, and a real savings in time wasted, to know that you'll be the one who makes it big. So many people think the same thing, after all. To hold such an obvious absurdity in their heads and in their hearts! Delusional! Now the rest of us can at last ease up and get busy with the very real work of our soul-deadening commitment to professional mediocrity, our serial failed marriages, our comical substance addictions and the rearing of our colicky, ill-bred children. Those of us about to settle into long but little lives of quiet desperation, the supporting players in the grand opera of your life, salute you on the timely revelation of your foreordained success.
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