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!

What to do when stuff hits the fan ... and the desk, and the keyboard

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by GidalKaiser, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. GidalKaiser

    GidalKaiser Member

    Here goes nothing (and I hope corporate doesn't see this) ... Long story short, the paper I work for fired the Sports Editor this morning. Now we're a one-man shop: me. A Division I university in the middle of an FCS football season/volleyball/beginning of basketball. And several high schools finishing football and volleyball - state volleyball is next week in my town, as it has been for at least a decade. Main beat is preps/college volleyball/some basketball (but I was going to be pulled off that beat once college football season was over.
    HELP. Already decided I'm going to demand OT until situation calms down, but I have no idea what to do about college football. SE/beat writer did a special GameDay preview section and a story a day. We're not doing GameDay this week (fired on a Thursday of an away game?) and our magazine for the annual rivalry matchup in three weeks is scrapped, to. Inclination is to recommend hiring fired SE on freelance basis until season is over. Otherwise, I have no idea how I'm going to handle the massive storm that is about to bury me. Any thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.
  2. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Don't look for fired SE to come back. Set your priorities. It can be done and is being done in many places. You're going to have to grow up fast. Good luck.
  3. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Do you have any stringers you can lean on, at least for the high school stuff? Any sister papers you can pick up copy from, or others in the region you can arrange story swaps with? AP typically ignores FCS schools, so can you work with the SID there to arrange some phoners or find someone at the student paper to help out?
    If they fired the SE, I'm guessing neither side would be willing to bring him back in any sort of capacity. If I were him, unless the rent was due tomorrow, I'd sure as hell tell them to pound sand.
    Explain the situation to every coach you deal with on a regular basis and ask them to be patient and help out by calling in scores whenever they can. Thirty minutes on a phoner beats two hours in person.

    Those are a couple of easy ways to fill in some coverage gaps. Beyond that, I'd recommend making a plan and keeping a level head. Prioritize, figure out what's most important and hit it. Then spread yourself around as best you can. DO NOT overextend yourself. You can't be in two places at once, you can't work 20 hours a day, six or seven days a week, no matter how much the suits complain.
    Also, stick to your guns regarding the overtime. The one good thing about this situation is you'll rack up the biggest paychecks you'll ever get there. But if you agree to turn it into comp time, or a temporary salary arrangement, not only will you never see that overtime, the temporary arrangement will likely become permanent. There's no incentive for them to replace the open position, and they won't. Meanwhile, you're doing two or three times as much work for the same pay. Don't even let them think they can get away with that.

    Good luck.
  4. JamesCimburek

    JamesCimburek New Member

    Understand where you're coming from. For my first decade as SE I was a one-man band covering a D2 and an NAIA school, and 40 high schools in two states.

    First two things: Take a deep breathe, prioritize. Look at what is most important for your readers, figure out how you can get that to them, and go from there. Don't be afraid to lean on your part-time help a little, if you have any, but try to take their schedules into account. (ie, don't throw 3 stories at a kid that has 5 finals that week)

    Finally, and this is the hardest part, let it go at the end of the day. Give yourself time to decompress and try not to bring work home, especially if you have a spouse or significant other waiting for you there.
  5. Drip

    Drip Active Member

  6. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Why would anybody hire him? In addition to hanging his bosses out to dry in the worst way possible, he has demonstrated he has no clue how the newspaper industry works by calling his bosses "money-hungry corporate f***ks who want to run newspapers as a business rather than an essential part to maintaining a free-flowing democracy.

    Well, duh.
  7. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Why not? People are hired and fired every day. He made a mistake. Hopefully, he'll learn from it.
  8. At least don't tell people where you work or use your real name when you flame your employer.
  9. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Back to the OP: Tell your bosses you need help. It's their overall problem and responsibility. You're caught in the middle and will have to work a lot harder for a while, but that doesn't give them a license to just abandon you to it.

    Actually, they can do whatever they want, but they should recognize the value of rallying the troops and making it a team effort. If they don't, do the best you can under the circumstances. And get that overtime pay.
  10. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Or - go on a message board and rip 'em a new one and let the new guy worry about the workload.
  11. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    I'm ashamed to say, this made me audibly laugh in the office.
  12. GidalKaiser

    GidalKaiser Member

    Thank you all for your advice; I do appreciate it. There is some semblance of a plan in place, and that's all I can say and am willing to say at this point.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page