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When to cut bait

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

  1. Crimson Tide

    Crimson Tide Member

    When to cut bait: Your SE and ME acknowledge that you don't have a lot of direction about how to do your job, but continue for weeks to criticize your work just the same. Nothing concrete that they can point out to help you improve, rather, they just don't like it.

    Oh, it's time to go.
  2. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    One option if you want to stay in newspapers is to become a copy editor. Money is better in general, hours more regular (yes, usually night ones; I'm a night person, tho, so right up my alley), and if you're decent, the jobs come looking for you. Plus, in the doomsday scenario sartrean refers to, copy editors will not become obsolete and will perhaps be needed even more (btw, is sartrean sounding like A_F, minus the obnoxiousness?)

    But the bottom line is, don't stay in out of sysiphean nobility or because of sunk costs, which are irrelevant, to apply an economic principle.
  3. SEWnSO

    SEWnSO Member

    HUH? ???
  4. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    Sysiphus is the guy in Greek mythology who was condemned to an eternal existence of pushing a boulder up a hill only to have to roll back down every time.

    In economics, sunk costs are costs you can't get back. They are considered irrelevant to calculate economic profit.
  5. Screwball

    Screwball Active Member

    Sunk costs in this context:

    "I spent $50,000 to get a journalism degree, so I can't leave journalism."

    Sure you can. The money is gone. Can't get it back now. You can be happy in PR (or whatever) and out $50,000, or you can be unhappy in journalism and out $50,000.

    Sunk costs in the usual context:

    "We spent $20 million to sign this stiff, so we can't cut him."

    Sure you can, and you can replace him cheaply, with a rookie.
  6. SEWnSO

    SEWnSO Member

    Wow, now that it has been 'splained, very thoughtful post!
  7. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Dooley is not saying the worst thing in the world here.

    Newspapers need better copy editors, and better designers, and certainly better photographers, more than they need better reporters or columnists. And here's what's funny…if there is anything you can do at a small daily or weekly, it's copy desk, design and photography. You might be lacking the best technology, and you might not be working with the best copy, but it is genuine experience, and a lot of newcomers, quite disturbingly, moan about it. Knowing all that we know about presentation, to scoff and piss at design, the placement of news and art, is the hallmark of a small, idiotic mind. If a talented desk earns the trust of the reporters and columnists - this almost never happens with columnists, many of whom think their opinions are pooped right from the ass of Simon Bolivar - you're gonna a better newspaper day in, day out. And if you have designers who understand the marriage of art and news, that makes a better paper. You might have a reporter who busts one open every so often, or cuts the guts of old women with a tear-jerker about some basketball coach dying of black lung, but it doesn't happen daily. Desk and design can a make a daily difference. Reporters and columnists are to some extent tied to the subjects and the quality of news.

    Now I left the business and couldn't be happier, but it wasn't I didn't know all of that, or didn't, somewhere along the way, better myself with the knowledge and application of the above. But it is disconcerting to see somebody talking about bowing out because the assignments don't roll their way. The best thing I can say about Bob Woodward - the last 25 years have been a little mixed - is that when he started he was GA, and many days he went out and found a story good enough to put on 1A when most reporters would have attending some government function and vomited the usual. In journalism there are many truths, but this is a key one: The reporter with the fewest beat obligations has the most freedom. It's a matter of recognizing it, stalking down those stories, and banging it out.
  8. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra Member

    The funny thing, to me, is that this question of should I stay or should I go isn't necessarily all that new in this business. When I first got a taste of this business, back in the late 1980s, I had a sports editor at a small newspaper on the tundra who told me these words of wisdom:

    "Don't get in this business, kid. The hours suck, there's no respect and the pay is piss poor. But you get paid to watch games. If you can live with that, fine."

    Nearly 20 years later, the arguments are the nearly the same. That guy left sports and become a respected political reporter, but I think eventually even he cut bait. The questions of what you can live with are different for everyone and change almost from day to day.
  9. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Paging Dyepack...
  10. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Good point, Alma. People sometimes look down on a GA gig, but it's freedom. No reason to quit the biz.
  11. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    And on a thread with Alma on it, I'm the one with the baffling post? :-\

    I keed. Any post with "many of whom think their opinions are pooped right from the ass of Simon Bolivar" is a winner in my book.
  12. ServeItUp

    ServeItUp Active Member

    Living that nightmare, CT. I feel your pain, bro.
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