I feel like my leading hindrance is my non-journalism degree (BS dual major in business management/marketing). In addition to that, that I will not graduate for one more semester.
I chose the major because I had plans to work in public relations within the same sporting industry that I report. I started working in journalism to obtain well-rounded experience within the industry. Who knew I would love it this much?
I currently work for a non-sporting magazine. While my title is advertising coordinator, I have monthly writing responsibilities. I have been writing a column on the sport I am seeking for my journalism career for more than a year.
I've also been writing for a Web site on my chosen sport for the past seven months, with articles ranging from breaking news to commentary. I have been doing ledes and writethrus, profiles and much more. I've worked alongside several of my journalistic "heroes" in the media centers and feel like I have a clear understanding of how it all works.
Most all of my articles have appeared on a very popular Web site within the industry that compiles and posts links to the top stories and breaking news. While it seems a little strange to me still, I even get fan mail. There have been a couple of times when responders to articles disagreed with everything I said, but ended their email by telling me how much they still enjoyed reading it.
While I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to get my name out in the world as a writer, I would really like to start getting paid for it. Working full-time, going to school full-time and writing for the Web site is a lot less fun when you don't get paid to do it -- especially after this long.
My expenses are not covered either, so I'm getting dangerously close to the point of no longer being able to attend the events. I know I can still get some mediocre stories from watching them on TV and get my quotes from the team PR managers, but it's never the same.
I would hate to step backward in my progress right now, but if I don't make the leap of faith now, I fear I won't have a choice. Freelance writing (and being paid) would be nice, but I want something more stable than freelance so that I can leave my current day job and focus more heavily on my career.
Any tips you can give this somewhat of a rookie on how to approach prospective media outlets with my level of experience (and my potential) would be greatly appreciated.
A: You're doing fine. With another full semester still to go, you are getting good experience that will serve you well. It is hard to temper ambition with patience, but you've got to learn to do it. Should you be shooting for the stars or the moon? At this stage, they're all in the same direction.
You should be working now to land a paid internship or starting job when you graduate. Freelancers can get paid for what they do too, of course, but a paycheck brings stability and an additional kind of credibility.
The money is important and will be even more important once you graduate, but gaining quality experience will matter even more. Apply to work where you will get real editing and where you can work with other professionals. They will be your next corps of teachers.
It sounds as though you are known to some of the other writers on the circuit for your sport. Ask them for their advice on next steps. Likely no two will tell you the same thing. And put out the word that you're looking for work -- or will be soon.