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When to cut bait

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JME, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. scribeinwiscy

    scribeinwiscy Member

    I am now on my second capacity as a communicator. :) First, was at a large motorcycle manufacturer, doing internal, human relations stuff. It surely didn't challenge me to the point working a beat did, but the work atmosphere was great, as was the pay. Once I did some ghost writing for a VP, jobs got bigger and responsibility came. They found my strength, and worked with it.

    Now, however, I am the editor or a quarterly trade magazine. It's OK, but it has surely guided me in the path I want to go. I am finding the more I search, the more good jobs for Communications Specialists are around. They are really a good balance of leg work, writing, some interviewing, HR stuff, some media interaction – no one day is the same, much like working in sports. Depending on the job, you can think of it as Internal Marketing. It has it's ups, mainly around 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

    These jobs can be found in your newspaper, of course, and other local job Web sites. I have looked at some professional organizations, like PRSA, for jobs, but probably wouldn't touch PR. Sounds like a lot of dishonesty and BS. A lot of these organizations have local chapters, and you can show up to meetings or events to network. It takes a lot of work, but these jobs are advertised.

    FWIW, can't lead anyone one way or another, just putting it out there that you can work 40 hours a week, get paid well, have a social life, still love sports, and most importantly, have pride in your work, outside of sports writing.
  2. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    How does 'human relations' differ from 'human resources'/personnel?
  3. scribeinwiscy

    scribeinwiscy Member

    Actually, it doesn't. I'm just a moron, and have always referred to it as human relations. It's a personal problem that I can't seem to shake. Sorry for the confusion.
  4. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    JME, I've come to the conclusion, as I'm now pushing 40, that this business as we know it is dead.

    Of course, Poynter and the Readership Institute have paid some market research firm no telling how much to come up with a new business model for print media -- mostly focusing on big city dailies and the way money is made at these dinosaurs.

    I've read through the business proposal, and I cannot find anything tangible in it. It's all theoretical.

    Assuming it is a worthy business model in the proposal that'll redefine how big city dailies do business, or giving it the benefit of the doubt, to stay in this business one will need to basically re-educate themselves.

    To survive in this business as a sports writer or SE or ME, down to copy editor, one would need to learn new things such as: video production and editing, web site editing and site content management, web site design, database construction and design, internet graphics design, etc. -- according to the business model that Poynter and RI paid for.

    Of course, all of this learning to do new things, assuming none of us can do all of these things already, it will take the average editor or writer at a newspaper away from what they do best -- writing...seeking out stories...meeting people and getting them to tell you things, etc.

    I'm not opposed to learning new things. After all, am considering going to grad school. But I'm not about to learn something new when I just don't think newspapers or newspaper web sites can pull in the buck and monopolize information the way big city dailies did 25, 40, 60 years ago.

    One thing I found interesting about this new business model concept was the blatant omission or the reluctance to move away from the print medium altogether. The internet allows any tom, dick or harry to publish whatever the hell they want to for minimal costs. Print costs are exorbitant, and it's becoming a niche industry. I think any new business model for newspapers should include a gradual phasing out of print altogether and creating web sites that will generate revenue in the form of subscriptions (while providing some free content), and generate revenue with ads, streaming video commericals, etc.

    I think the future product will be beams of information blasted through the aether to subscribers' ipods, palm devices, cell phones, blueteeth (or bluetooths), those nifty gadgets in people's cars these days that tell you where the hell you're going (and what more could we need on the rush hour drive to work other than an electronic "newspaper" beamed to your car, so you can read while dodging the other fuck driving 90 miles per hour in a 5 mph crawl?).

    Maybe the product of the future will be a little data stick, purchased at a "rack" for say a buck, and plugged into a hand-held device or cell phone will give people the information they need, sports news, stock quotes, city government malfeasance, etc.

    Tomorrow's readers, if they aren't doing it already, will go to web sites for information and to highly localized web sites for local news and information. Quite possibly, these web sites will be operated by the so-called "citizen" journalists. Newspaper web sites need to show the average reader that the information contained therein is bona fide information, devoid of opinion in news reports, and that the writers and operators of the site are trained pros who know what they're doing.

    Perhaps there's some folks on here who have a business background who are familiar with the Poynter and RI's prescription for business model change and could provide a better commentary on it than I did. Hopefully.

    Short answer to your predicament, get out now. Only more and more senior editors and laid off publishers and other high level execs will be scooping up whatever low level copy editor and junior reporter positions that are still available in the next 2-5 years.
  5. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Some parts of the job can be real hell, though. Like having the main printer break down and having the finance admin offer you your own printer for your desk. Or having her come into my office (not cubicle, but office) and saying 'how's you chair, do you need a new chair?'
    -- she said, leaning back into her new ergonomically designed place to rest her butt ... :D
  6. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    I cut bait a few months ago ... (at 31). I felt like I was stuck professionally and I'd hit a dead-end, but I also felt called into something else.

    The last few months, I've had the time of my life. And, thanks to freelancing, I'm still in the game a little bit, but on my terms.
  7. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    Great thread. Got some feelers out there out of the biz, may go over to corporate communications. How do I pull the trigger?

    I am doing what I always wanted to do. My goals was to cover major college sports, and I'm doing it. I turn 30 next year, and I have covered everything I could have wanted to do. Everytime I get a call for an interview, I get a sick feeling to my stomach...I am afraid to apply on the chance they actually will hire me (makes any sense?).

    I make a little less than $29,000 though, and it is just killing me. My questions is, what is a good salary to leave what you love doing at?

    $50,000 I am probably gone tommorrow. How about $35000? probably not.

    So this is going to be a money decison for me. Any job over $50,000 and I am gone. What do I do for a $40,000 job? Is an extra $10,000 going to alter my life and living that much?

    Moving out of my area isn't an option, got a wife and a newborn and she isn't going anywhere.

    At what point is money and compensation enough to have me give up what I always wanted to do?

    Tough question.
  8. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    Covering major college sports for 29K a year. Even in this day an age of the inevitable desmise of print media altogether -- you're getting screwed.

    I've been making very close to that or more at non dailies over the past few years. Of course, I do more, cover more teams in a given beat, but still if I really screw up and get a kid's name wrong, it's low level sports. Or that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

    And to be very fair here, my current employer has phased out my job, it ends in two weeks, as does this tri-weekly's sports section. But I've got other offers at nearby papers, just not going to accept anything for right now. I'm going to milk my unemployment compensation for all its worth.
  9. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Be proud.
  10. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    I am, after all, the social safety net is the American Dream.

    Getting something for nothing is what every American wants, and that's why we rule the world.
  11. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Someone else started a thread like this a few months ago and the first response was, "if you're burned out on this business, go ahead and leave and get out of someone else's way." This one is more constructive.

    I do believe the Parcells quote about if you're thinking about retirement, you're retired. With this business, though, there's an interesting caveat: You don't have to completely leave it if you don't want to. It's a great way to make side money, and you can choose how much you want to work that way. Get a 40 doing something else and do this on the side. That approach works for a lot of people.

    Recognizing that there is more to life than money, Here's another personal finance philosophy to keep in mind as you ponder what to do: Very few people get rich working only 40 hours per week.
  12. rgd

    rgd Guest

    Very good point.
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