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weekly or daily

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by zman82, Aug 26, 2006.

  1. zman82

    zman82 Member

    two part question for those with many years in the tank...
    living close to a university, i often have j-school kids ask what's the better route to work: start at a daily or weekly? i've always told them to go the daily route regardless of $$$ because dailies usually prefer that experience. (just happens that's the way its worked for me) am i right?
    that said, i started wondering if you're better off being a writer at a metro daily or the editor of a community weekly? obviously, where you live plays a role into this question but genrallyn speaking, what's the better gig for for future experience and money?
  2. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    The downside to being an editor at a weekly is you don't have anyone to help push you along. You're busy teaching others and don't have someone teaching you how to improve.
    Thus, I always figured it was most important to be at a place where you have a chance to learn and evolve as a writer. not where that's your duty as someone else's boss.
  3. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    It's a good point, but don't think going to a daily is going to be an extension of your education. Few newspaper executives have the time and/or inclination to take you by the hand and teach you what you need to know. Not a happy thought, but it's the nature of the business. You've got to get a paper on the street each day.

    So, as far as that goes, you might not have the person to push you at a weekly, but that person may not have the time to push you at a daily.
  4. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    While the executive editor at a daily probably isn't going to go over a story line by line before it goes to print, the sports editor and copy editors will -- or should -- with a young writer. That's an important part of their job. Even veteran writers need feedback. To say that writers at dailies don't get that is, in my experience, inaccurate.
  5. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    My experiences have been much closer to shotty's than yours, awriter.

    I've had my annual reviews, but that's about it.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    My experiences have also been closer to Shotty's.

    When I was a reporter, I can remember exactly one instance where my SE actually went over my writing with me. Helped tremendously, but it wasn't something I expected. Self-editing is a tough skill to learn, but it's important to learn it well.

    Now that I'm on desk, I've found that I've gotten into a similar pattern. If a writer wants to come to me, and ask me for help, that's fine. Shows initiative. I like that.

    But at most papers, as Shotty said, you ain't gonna get much babysitting.

    It's no one's job to teach you how to do your job: that's *your* job.
  7. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    You just can't beat the experience you get at a weekly or small daily.

    Most editors worth a damn know this, for most of them came up the same way.
  8. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    I guess I'm lucky then, because I have worked with good editors throughout my career, as a part-timer at small or six-figure circulation papers or as a full-timer at various stops. There were always people -- copy editors or ASEs, if not the sports editor -- who would go over stories with me. Always. At one stop, we had a writing coach who had been a sportswriter at a major daily. I went to him constantly. And I never had an editor turn me down if I asked for feedback.
  9. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    I worked at a large daily and the experience I gained there was almost priceless. There was tons of feedback, and with that, it made me want to work harder and harder.
  10. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Did the first 10 years at various dailies. Now I'm starting my 4th year at a weekly in a town with a daily that's been here forever. I want to go back to a daily. I miss the daily buzz. I like having my hand in all facets of production, but being a one-man dept. (with occasional stringer help) gets old, and tends to run you down; and it doesn't help that people here still clambor to be in the daily. I'm ready to move back to the world of daily sports.
  11. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Basically what I was going to write. Wherever you go -- large daily, small daily, weekly, monthly magazine -- the overwhelming majority of the learning you do will be completely on your shoulders, and almost all of that will be stuff you pick up as you go -- trial and error, fixing mistakes, reading other writers' stories and talking to people at similarly-sized papers to see how they do their job.

    I agree with Riddic that starting at a large paper is a nice luxury -- even if at 20-29 hours. But the editors at that paper didn't give me a lot of feedback unless it was a really big story with plenty of head time. Most of my feedback came when I read my edited stories at the office before I went home to see what the copy editors did to it. At first I was insulted and a bit perturbed, but then I got over it and started noticing what they were consistently changing or axing, and it tempered my wild ledes and shoot-the-moon technique into something more managable and respectable. But again, that was almost all indepedent learning.

    As for whether you should go daily or weekly in that regard: it depends on the situation. If you have a weekly where you're left alone to do your thing, you won't have someone imposing their often-wrong philosophies on you, but by being in a vacuum, you run the risk of codifying your own often-wrong philosophies. At a daily, you might be around a lot of talented writers and editors who make you step up your game, or you might be around people who kill all your controversial stories and change quotes to make them spin positive.

    I will say that if you go weekly, try to freelance for a daily if there's one nearby, or at least make yourself available for stringing for out-of-town papers. You want to establish that the thought of daily deadlines won't make you get the vapors.
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