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Up the down career ladder

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Joe Williams, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Conventional wisdom said that you always wanted to move to bigger newspapers, bigger cities, bigger paychecks, bigger jobs.

    Except that now, the big papers are throwing people overboard as aggressively, or more so, than the medium and small places.

    What has happened, in many cases, is that the people most capable of getting those allegedly better jobs are finding themselves out of work or out of the profession entirely. Meanwhile, those who did not get the call from a major metro, or get promoted or get a raise or chase a major-league market at least find themselves still gainfully employed.

    Is it possible that we'll see some executive editors in medium and smallish markets say, "Hey, we can pick up some big league talent on the cheap" and start bringing in folks who have been downsized ... maybe for YOUR job? Or will journalists who were good enough to play in the big leagues be out of luck entirely, while the bushers still plug along in the minors?

    In other words, have we gotten to the point where we'd rather hunker down at the Podunk Times than get that big career chance in the big city?
  2. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    My recollection of the early '90s was that a lot of the displaced talent from the Arkansas Gazette, the Dallas Times Herald, the San Antonio Light and the Houston Post found very good homes at smaller papers.
  3. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Well, you've seen and still are seeing what the "big city" papers can do to a person.

    If you're comfortable living in Podunk, reassessing your life goals or priorities, and maybe enjoying a slower pace then a midsize or small paper might be the best option.
  4. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    >>>Or will journalists who were good enough to play in the big leagues be out of luck entirely, while the bushers still plug along in the minors?<<<

    so the journalists at big papers are all better than the "bushers" at smaller papers?
  5. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    I suspect money would be an issue, especially with many smaller papers flat-out refusing to offer pay equivalent to that of a first-year teacher with no tenure.

    And when I saw the thread title, I thought of this:

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  6. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Yes, that's why they are at the big metro's. Right?

    In reality, there are good reporters scattered all over the place and bad reporters everywhere. If I made an extra $10,000 year, I probably wouldn't leave my paper ever. I like not dealing with traffic or pollution. There are many reporters around the country that treasure small town living as well.
  7. jps

    jps Active Member

    moved "down" to move up in job/personal satisfaction a few years ago and have loved it. never want to go back, and likely wouldn't even if the market weren't more dangerous at mid-sized on up. quality of life counts in my book.
  8. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Tex and Stitch, sorry if I was unclear. Didn't mean to be presumptuous.

    No, I fully understand that quality is only one of many factors that go into someone's so-called "climb" up the career ladder. There are plenty of hacks in the big (well, not so big now) newsrooms. But the perception traditionally is that jobs at the bigger-name, bigger-city places go to the folks judged most capable by the bosses doing the hiring. Obviously, this isn't a sports league -- people sometimes choose to stay right where they're at in the equivalent of Class A or Class AAA, which is wonderful if it suits their needs, hopes and dreams.

    I'm just saying that, for those who did climb the ladder, did they ever imagine that they might end up worse off rather than better off, simply because they left the relative (extremely relative) safe haven of an unpanicked, perhaps more economically viable, maybe family-owned medium or small operation?

    What they have done, in many cases judged by current bloody headlines, is put themselves in the crosshairs of heartless bean-counters, in ways that maybe some in smaller markets haven't. So working the career ladder wound up backfiring in this way.

    I'm all for the folks doing great work at jobs they like at whatever "level" of this business. But a lot of us had it drilled into us that moving up (in market size, circulation, pay, profile) meant better things than staying put. Doesn't seem so, so much, anymore.
  9. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Truth is, it was never all that. The joke's on us, in more ways than one.

    Like Elliotte said in my sig line, "Don't fuck with happy."
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