Q: It's been about two years since I worked at a daily newspaper. Things didn't go too well with the editors, so I quit. I then started a family shortly after that. I've had several interviews with daily and weekly newspapers in the past but I didn't get hired because I didn't have enough experience or because of some other reason.
Currently, I am doing freelance work with a weekly. I've enjoyed it a lot, but I would like a more permanent job with them, if possible. What do you suggest? Should I ask them if they'd hire me full-time or just stick to freelancing with them? Because of family reasons, I cannot leave my area, otherwise I would.
A: You should definitely get in there and ask the editors whether full-time employment is a possibility. If it is, ask them to help you draw up a blueprint for achieving it.
If not, you'll know what you're dealing with and won't live on false hopes.
BlackAmericaWeb.com interviews University of Georgia doctoral student Matthew Harrison, whose research shows that dark-skinned blacks fare less well than light-skinned blacks in interviews -- even when their résumés are better.
The Web site quotes a statement in which Harrison said, "Our results indicate that there appears to be a skin tone preference in regards to job selection. This finding is possibly due to the common belief that fair-skinned blacks probably have more similarities with whites than do dark-skinned blacks, which in turn makes whites feel more comfortable around them."
Q: Hi, just found your advice site and am happy I did. I've been out of college for two years with a degree in journalism and have gotten stuck without a full-time job. After college, I was supposed to go to NYU for grad school (the magazine program) but at the last minute, I deferred because I was afraid of the student loan debt and wasn't sure a graduate degree in journalism would be helpful, even though it's a great program.
Then I worked part-time for my local newspaper for a while and eventually took an internship at a magazine. The experience was horrible (the editor liked to swear at people over the intercom system for the whole office to hear) and made me reconsider whether I wanted a career in journalism at all. I decided I wanted to do public relations instead, but other than a fantastic summer job that I keep returning to (publicist for a theater festival), I haven't been able to find anything permanent and full-time in PR either (despite over 15 job interviews).
So now I've been thinking I should consider journalism again. Over the past two years, I've continued to freelance for my local paper writing features, but even they won't hire me full-time. And even if they did, I could make more money working at a convenience store. Some of the time I enjoy writing for the paper, some of the time, I get bored with the stories. I think I really don't like community journalism that well but I think I would like working at a larger paper. How does one break into a larger paper?
Most internships are for current students and it seems like most reporters working at community newspapers get stuck there forever. Because of my pr background, I know some journalists at larger papers, but don't feel comfortable asking them for job advice. One of them actually told me this summer that I should stay in PR anyway...that unless I was really good, I'd spend my life at a community newspaper and the only way to get a good job at a newspaper is to know the right people.
At this point, I just really want a full-time job that pays enough to live on and has health insurance. How do I find that? Should I re-apply to NYU? Would my chances of landing the right job be better with a masters degree from a good j-school (instead of a bachelors degree from a mediocre one)? Or would I be wasting the money on a degree I don't really need? If I don't want to go back to school, are there ways to find a good job at a decent sized paper?
A: I don't want to be discouraging, and I also don't want to raise false hope.
My impression is that you don't love journalism enough to be very successful at it. I'd hold off on the college and keep looking until you find a field or a purpose you get so passionate about that you'd go through walls to do it.
If you can find that, fulfillment, money and health benefits will follow. Without the passion, you'll be in a rut -- even with the degree.
On Sept. 20, I recalled where five former Knight Ridder people who were assistant veeps or higher have landed.
Today, the California Newspaper Partenrship announced that it has hired Marshall Anstandig, who was vice president and senior labor and employment counsel for Knight Ridder.
Anstandig is now senior vice president and general counsel with the Media News-run partnership that has 33 dailies and 56 non-dailies in California. They include the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times, which were part of KR, along with Anstandig. He joins Steve Rossi, who came over from KR as chief operating officer.
Q: I am still in high school, but it's about the time for me to start looking into colleges. I want to be a journalist, more specifically, a journalist that reports on international affairs for a print newspaper or magazine. My dilemma is that I am unsure about what I should get my degrees in. Most likely, I will be graduating college with my associate's degree.
My parents approve of and will pay for me to go all the way to my master's, so I will, of course, be taking advantage of their generosity. Now, I am unsure of my majors. Should I major in journalism for my bachelor's and my master's, or should I major in something to widen my understanding of reporting on international affairs, then switch to a school like Columbia and major in journalism only for my masters? Would not having my undergrad in journalism even get me into Columbia?
Well, any advice you can give me would be geatly appreciated! Thanks.
A: Yea, Mom and Dad! I'm sure they can't think of a better person to help.
You plan ahead and that will help you. But let's look at how many print newspapers and magazines are posting people overseas. The number is shrinking. As you are almost eight years away from completing a master's degree, I suggest you recalibrate your plans to take into account where you think they'll be in eight years.
Consider two options: multimedia reporting and financial journalism. The first would put you more in synch with where the successful print publications will be in eight years. The second would give you more options for landing an international reporting job.
Now, then, about the degrees. I would not get two of the same thing. It matters little which is the journalism degree. But it is essential that you begin practicing journalism -- on school papers and summer internships -- as soon as possible. Having good internships can matter every bit as much as the unoversity on the sheepskin. For a second major, I would look at a content area that will help your reporting.
Columbia seems to admit a mix of people who are serious about journalism. Some demonstrate that with an undergraduate journalism degree. Others do it with experience.
Q: I started my first job in journalsim about two months ago at a respectable 20,000 circ. newspaper. Yesterday, I got a call from an editor at large, metropolitan newspaper asking if I would be interested in a job (I had earlier interviewed for another one that I did not get). Obviously, I would have loved to accept (I consider it a huge honor to even have been considered, because I just graduated from college), but I told the editor I had already taken another job.
When I told some of my co-workers about this, they couldn't believe I turned down the job. They didn't seem to think leaving a job after just two months reason enough to say no to the new one. Were they right? I had always thought skipping out on a job before I had been there atleast a year was frowned upon. Or would this have been an understandable situation, going to a much larger paper? I should mention both newspapers are owned by the same company.
I definitely want to keep in contact with the editor, though, and plan on periodically sending him clips. My question is, how many should I send? One or two, or should I treat it as a mini-job application and send 6-10? Also, should I go ahead and send my best stuff or try to save those clips for if I have to officially re-apply for a job at the newspaper?
Thanks for your help!
A: I disagree with your co-workers.
In fact, I likely would not encourage someone to leave a job they had been working for just two months. It is a bad precedent and can make you look flighty or shifty.
Stay in touch with the editor at the larger paper and continue working to make good on your implied commitment that you would work for more than a couple months. It will take you several months -- maybe as long as a year -- just to get to the point where you know your beat.
After a year, you can start looking. But you don't have to.
It does not sound like this is an issue for you, but be aware that some employers hire people with the stipulation that, if they leave within a year (or two), they have to reimburse moving expenses. That gives us some insight into what editors think is a respectable tenure.
OK, this is a bit much. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a high-profile job candidate was so high profile that anonymous posters and bloggers watched and logged her every move as she tried to land a faculty job in international relations.
The Chron said, "the blog followed Ms. Hyde's nearly every move, from her interviews at the University of Virginia and George Washington University to her decision to accept the offer at Yale."
The article says that the job- and candidate-tracking on-line rumor mills began as Web sites in narrow fields such as theoretical particle physics.
Are faculty members as concerned as journalists that exposure could be detrimental to one's career?