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Why this business frustrates me

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Rhody31, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Let me preface this by saying I am a 27-year old working at a weekly and, as documented on this board, I totally despise the company that owns my family of papers. It doesn't stop me from trying to put out a good product and do everything to make us the preferred paper for our readers.

    During football season, we run a high school football page in our weeklies (it goes in five of the six; one paper is a bi-weekly) with a statewide ranking system based on what we see, hear and gather from coaches during the season. Rhode Island isn't that big, so for two guys, this isn't extremely difficult to do - it's kind of fun and makes for a good debate piece with our nine schools that play and usually aren't ranked where they want to be.

    We are trying to legitimize our rankings. Our company has some sort of sharing deal with the top rated news station in the state. To take advantage of this, I offer our rankings to the news station, as long as they give us the proper credit for it. I offer our services as far as giving them scores for games we attend, along with stats for their nightly newscast. The guys I work with - two of whom work at a smally daily in our chain - talked about it and we figured its not that big of a deal to call on our rides back to the office (at the weeklies, we put stories online following the game) with some key stats - again, for credit.

    There are two dailies in our chain up north. They don't put out two different papers. The papers are the exact same, with the same stories going in them. Not one sports section for one town, a different section for another - the same.

    The news station wants to know if they will do the same. I tell them I'll ask.

    I call the editor - a grizzled vet in the business who's been around forever - and explain what we're doing and how good this will be for our papers and credibility. His answer?

    No. He says "I don't have enough time to do that."

    I explain he doesn't have to do anything. Just have the reporters who are at games call in on their way back to the office. He starts yelling at me about how much work they have to do and how I don't understand because they're a daily. I manage not to say how shitty of a daily paper they are and how I worked at an APSE winner where the worst section was 10x as good as his best.

    He leaves me with "I'm not going to do anything until my bosses tell me I have to."

    The total lack of respect for putting our a good product and trying to improve said product drives me mad. Regardless of what he or his crew of reporters who are barely journalists do, they can't get canned. They're union. They have contracts. Who cares about hard work; just get paid.

    This business drives me mad when I see people who don't care doing work. I'm not the perfect employee by any means; last month I didn't exactly give 100 percent, but when you're the second man of a two-man team that should be five, you're doing editor/photographer/reporter work and getting paid as little as the company allows and morons like the one I had to deal with tonight have well-paying jobs - even though most of them are bad reporters and worse writers - it makes you want to quit.

    But I can't. I love this work. Journalism is what I've wanted to do since I wrote gamers in my journal for my third grade class.

    I will improve my situation someday. I can't leave my job here (girlfriend/future wife is an in-state lifer, doesn't want to leave and is the breadwinner) and can only aspire that the big boys up north see what I can do and say hey, maybe we should hire this guy. He seems to do a good job.

    And I swear, when that day comes, I'm not going to stop trying to get better. Because if I do, I failed.

    And that is not an option.

    EDIT: I changed the title; It read like me not having a better job is what's wrong with the biz. I have plenty of confidence, but not that much.
  2. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    Re: Reason 345,653 why our business is screwed

    This is totally unrelated but I just noticed my paper's coverage area is almost twice the size of Rhode Island.
  3. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Re: Reason 345,653 why our business is screwed

    You can literally leave the southernmost part of our coverage area and be out of the northernmost part in about 20 minutes. We're small, which is why it makes working here all the more maddening.
  4. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    Re: Reason 345,653 why our business is screwed

    ever think another profession wouldn't make you as angry?
  5. I Digress

    I Digress Guest

    A lot of dailies are going to 'partnerships' with news channels.. that's not news....i don't understand it, though. I guess if they're actually crediting you with the info that's a plus, but I'd much rather have the readers going to the website or picking up the paper than hearing it on TV and not reading.
  6. sounds like you already failed
  7. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    It sounds like the editor doesn't want to give his stuff for free. Why can't the news stations do the work if they want the info? Why should the newspaper do all the work for some silly credit?

    I doubt the tie-in will help increase readership. I've seen newspapers and tv stations owned by the same company who can't make a partnership work.
  8. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I wouldn't be calling the television station with the results either.
  9. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    and again, we're giving the product away for free in this example. i guarantee that "credit" you get on the tv isn't worth much.
  10. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    But don't other states have football rankings?
    Rhode Island doesn't; we're triying to legitimize it by attaching the top news station in the state with it.

    And the amount of effort we have to put in to make ourselves look better is minimal.
  11. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    why do you not think it takes a tv news station to legitimize it?
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I don't understand what the importance of high school football rankings are. Rankings to me seem pointless since a champ is crowned at the end of the season.

    By the way Rhody, you seem to have an issue of how everyone else is doing their job. If you don't like how things are, move on.
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