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What do you do if you're not comfortable with your clips?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by IllMil, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. IllMil

    IllMil Active Member

    OK, let me preface this by saying that I understand editors are going to hack your work to pieces. But here's my problem.

    As a student, I can only try to write decent clips so I have a chance to land a job. But it seems, EVERY time I turn in a story, it comes back to me with added mistakes. Being a school paper, the copy editors are frat guys working 10 hours a week for beer money. They're lazy, and they can't write.

    I just want to know ... is it really bad if your clips have typos and mistakes? Or do people just want to see that you HAVE clips? Every 5-6 weeks I'll finally get one that comes out clean, but more often than not, someone adds some stupid crap to my stories. One time they actually rewrote interception to read "intereception." They constantly insert commas where they shouldn't be, insert or remove words, etc. Most recently they changed this sentence:

    "Jones alertly grabbed it and launched a three in the waning seconds, but the shot rattled out, and the Cougars season was over."


    "Jones alertly grabbed it and launched a three in the waning seconds, but the shot rattled out, ending the UM-Dinkville's season."

    Really? "The UM-Dinkville?" There have been far worse examples, but that was the most recent one.

    I just put my head down and do the next story, because I don't want to come off as hypersensitive. But I also don't want a hiring editor to read my stories and think I'm retarded, either.
  2. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    This isn't an answer to your question, so forgive me. But if you've got a problem with what they're "doing" to your work, you've got to tell them. Do it now. It's good practice for when you do land that first job.
  3. Written Off

    Written Off New Member

    Odds are some paper near you needs stringers. Find those papers, speak to those editors, take every assignment offered and start collecting clips.
    Expecting to land a job/internship with clips full of errors just isn't smart.
    No offense, but it doesn't sound like your school paper likely has prepared you for a professional career. Find professional papers, accept criticism with open arms, use it to make your writing better and get far, far away from that school paper.
    Best of luck...
  4. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    I'd second both of these suggestions, especially sticking up for your own work.

    I'd have a word with the senior editor of your student newspaper. Try to take before and after copies of your work so you have some evidence of how your copy editors are screwing up.
  5. IllMil

    IllMil Active Member

    See, that's the question. Whenever I see people bitching about editors on here, they're alway told to get over it. Isn't hypersensitivity looked down upon? It seems like bitching to an editor is only going to make the relationship worse. And when YOU make a mistake, you can expect to hear about it twice as loud.

    Criticism is fine. It's when they're changing things that are perfectly fine and adding mistakes that upsets me.

    On the other note ... I'm really interested in working as a stringer, but I have no idea how to start. Do you advise using query letters and pitching ideas, or simply contacting editors and asking if they need any help? Thanks guys.
  6. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    You'll need to phrase it delicately, and that's why I'd say make sure you take before and after's of your work. They'll make your point better than just saying they're killing your work.

    In the past, I've cold-called editors looking to see if they've needed help with an out-of-state game for college sports, and know people call us locally looking to hook on as a prep correspondent.
  7. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Don't be afraid to ask about stringing. It won't get easier finding a job down the line so learn to talk to editors now.
  8. Rex Harrison

    Rex Harrison Member

    Fuck the college paper. From all the people I've talked to and known, not many are run well enough to help you learn. String for a professional publication. Of course, if the quality isn't much better there, you're just fucked.

    But you should care about mistakes being inserted into your clips and speak up in a respectful manner. Your clips, your career.
  9. IllMil

    IllMil Active Member

    I must say this isn't what I expected. I thought you were all going to tell me to quit crying about it. I'm glad you're supportive of my frustration, because I'm going to bring it up. I just don't see it going over too well.

    I would like to fuck the college paper. But my options are limited, and if I stick around a little longer, I will be in charge of it, and at the very least I can be responsible for my own damn mistakes.

    You talk about stringing like it's so simple. I'd like to do it, I just don't know how to go about it. My college isn't very large. The surrounding papers usually send their own people to my events.
  10. the_lorax

    the_lorax Member

    Sounds like you've got some frat boys to go grab by the balls.
  11. Rex Harrison

    Rex Harrison Member

    Many papers will keep a healthy stringer budget because it means they don't have to hire regular staff members. It allows them to staff events for cheap.
  12. mdpoppy

    mdpoppy Member

    I'm not intending to sound mean, but I wouldn't feel comfortable if my only clips were from the student paper anyway. For the most part, editors don't care. A clip from a Podunk high school gamer went much further for me than all the hard work I poured into my student paper.

    If I could do it over again, I'd start as a part-timer at the local paper my freshman year and pick up any stories for the student paper in my free time. Though, a student paper is nice to be able to go in, make your mistakes and learn from them without much pressure.
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