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Youngster-ish needs advice

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by travis5mith, Apr 30, 2015.

  1. travis5mith

    travis5mith New Member

    I'm graduating college in nine days, and have applied to so many outfits that I have lost count. Zero responses. I'm graduating at 25, thanks to a failed collegiate baseball career and my need to continue to chase the dream, and have been the Sports Editor for a DII school paper (covering every. single. sport. Yes, even tennis.) for the last year, and have been a stringer for area high school sports for two different papers.

    How the hell do I land a gig somewhere?? At this point, any advice is better than none.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Do you have any experience at a paper as an intern? People in the business you can reach out to?

    Is there a journalism professor connected with the job market you can tap?

    Are you considering an SID job? Maybe that's something to pursue.
    travis5mith likes this.
  3. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    I graduated with similar experience, including no internship. Pretty much all I had to go on was working for my college paper and a couple of freelance gigs. All you can really do is keep at it. Apply, apply, apply, apply. I probably applied to 50-60 different papers from all over the country before I landed my first gig, and it was at the bottom of the totem pole - a small community weekly with a total circulation of about 7,000.

    If you really want to pursue this career, I'd recommend you keep doing freelance work for those papers, and do consistent and reliable work for them. Always be ready to pick up an assignment. Who knows? If one of them eventually has an opening, your foot will already be in the door. The freelancing I did in college ultimately led me to my second job and got me out of that weekly.

    Now my real advice would be to avoid newspapers altogether and pursue something else in communications. Like Ace said, maybe something in an SID's office, even at your own school, would be great. But I know if I had given myself the same advice after graduating, I would have ignored it.
    travis5mith likes this.
  4. Craig Sagers Tailor

    Craig Sagers Tailor Active Member

    Market yourself in different ways then just being a sportswriter. Base your talents around being a content creator with plenty of real-world applications. You've probably put in work through writing, photography and design elements of the newspaper. Also, you're good with deadlines and can turn around quality work in a hurry. If you were an SE, then you also managed a staff and delegated some responsibilities/assignments, right?

    Basically think in more nuanced terms than just being the sports guy.
    travis5mith likes this.
  5. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Is it too late to advise you to study something other than journalism and plan for a career other than journalism?
    travis5mith likes this.
  6. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Of course, with the week I've had, PR/marketing is not much better.
    travis5mith likes this.
  7. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    If you have experience in writing other than sports, that will help in the long run. Sports also can be an in to writing news, for instance.

    The guy who was sports editor for my college newspaper now is a news writer at a big daily. I still remember when he was skittish about his first non-sports byline.
    travis5mith likes this.
  8. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    I think everyone in this thread has given good advice so far, including the dour people. I'm not sure how your college professors were, but I think even the realistic ones can undersell just how hard it is to find a full-time journalism job, especially if you want a niche like sports. I'm in Rhode Island, and I think there have been 4 or 5 sports jobs that have opened up in the past two years, across 10+ papers. The big state daily hired the weekly sports editor from our paper. Our paper hired a recommendation from the old sports editor, a guy who was being overworked at his smaller shop. And that shop hired someone at 20k or so to take the job. Another chain that hires at that pay range cycled through a sports guy or two. Personally, I've been on the news side for about five years now, and I don't think I'll ever get back to sports because I know of at least two guys locally who are more seasoned than me and practically unemployed in journalism.

    Speaking of that local thing - There is such a glut of unemployed journalists in any given area that even the "hey, move to geographical outpost X!" isn't as realistic anymore. Yeah, if it's a big boy job at a daily paper or a national outlet, they're going to cast a wide net. But the entry level stuff, they seemingly have qualified applicants locally without having to deal with the issues you can run into when hiring someone out of market. As a result, I'd strongly encourage you to pursue any sort of gig you can get locally - even if its news or freelance magazine writing - because that's probably a more fruitful usage of your time than applying to every outlet along the East Coast, for example.
    travis5mith likes this.
  9. travis5mith

    travis5mith New Member

    Boy, you guys sure are encouraging! Ha. I've considered an SID/assistant SID route, but I'm not overly excited to do so. Zero room for creativity. And unfortunately yes, I think at this point it's a little too late to advise a change in study, Buck. My journalism professor is a 1992 Pulitzer Prize winner, which is awesome, except that he got out of the business to teach soon after, and most of his contacts are long retired - leaving that resource all but tapped.

    I guess my best bet is to combine Craig and Ty's advice, and continue to apply for any and everything. But dang, is it frustrating!
  10. ringer

    ringer Member

    "I've considered an SID...route, but I'm not overly excited ... Zero room for creativity."

    (1) The job is as creative as you make it.
    (2) If you want to make contacts with sports writers/editors, that would be one wicked-fast way -- and they could tip you off about openings.

    Otherwise, keep hitting up the places that said no. Something will open eventually.

    As for your prof's connections retiring... even if he was still in the business, it would likely still be the case. I've found that editors come and go at lightning speed these days, rarely to resurface, except as writers (aka: your competition).
    forever_town likes this.
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