Journalist Losing Hope for the New Year. He Can’t Get Hired in Chicago.

By Mick Gregory

I’ve been highlighting some items from Joe Grimm “the newspaper recruiter” at the Detroit Free Press and now a daily columnist at Poynter.

Take a look at this poor stiff, who is finding his J-school degree can’t even get him an entry level job at the ring of low-level suburban newspapers in the outskirts of Chicago. He signs his letter “Stymied.”


Why Can’t I Get a Job in Chicago?
Q. I will graduate with a journalism degree in May. I’d like to work in the Chicago area, but have had no luck finding a job.

I’ve freelanced for the Daily Herald, interned at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as well as a specialty magazine and the Milwaukee business weekly. I have extensive experience as editor of a campus newspaper and also have multimedia experience in video, Web and print design.

The Daily Herald seems to have a hiring freeze, the Sun-Times and Tribune are not for entry-level journalists and I never see any job openings listed for the Sun-Times News Group papers in the suburbs or the Northwest Herald. The JS just offered a bunch of buyouts and I haven’t seen many openings yet.

Should I expect to see openings on job boards for any of these papers, or should I be sending my clips and resumes blindly to these papers? Is it realistic for a journalist to have a job lined up months in advance, like business students?

Thank you,

Stymied

Mr. Grimm’s response:
A. It is frustrating, when you have friends who are in business or law, to see them get offers so far in advance. Journalism just doesn’t work that way — especially in recent years, when budgets are more nip and tuck.

Your biggest hurdle is focusing on one of the nation’s most competitive media markets. People who are determined to start their careers in a major city, especially New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Chicago, are trying to compete with veterans who have worked years to get there. For many of them, those cities are home.

Mr. Grimm, Stymied knows that. He is trying to get hired by one of the suburban papers. He doesn’t even have the self worth to send a resume to the Sun Times or Tribune.

How can you look yourself in the mirror? You are lower than a “pre-need” casket salesman.

Mick’s advice: get some real education in IT, engineering, maybe even law, while you work at whatever you can, hopefully on Web projects. Businesses need help with their communications.

Don’t let a bad career choice ruin your whole life. Grimm isn’t going to tell you the truth about the dismal condition of the newspaper industry. Good luck.

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48 thoughts on “Journalist Losing Hope for the New Year. He Can’t Get Hired in Chicago.

  1. Perhaps tell him that to make it in the big cities, you have to think baseball: first do your time in the minor leagues – the small towns, learning the ropes for little pay, in order to prove to yourself and others that you’re ready for the big leagues.

    Ian of Eastern Europe,
    The baseball example doesn’t work very well. Even minor league baseball players make double what newspaper journalists average. Then, after working free internships and entry level jobs for five or 10 years, the “journos may make it to the majors, to make $50,000 a year with no chance for advancement and no future.

    Now papers are outsourcing copy editor jobs to India. You must work for the government. You really are clueless. Tell us what you do? Work for the German DMV?

  2. Ian,
    I just got back from the DMV. That is a perfect example of Big Brother/Big Sis know best. It’s what socialized health care will look like if there are enough voters like you in the U.S. to elect Hillary/Obama. Tell us about your perfect socialist system.

  3. Mick:
    Interesting article. Quite sad about this young fellow, but this sort of thing is not just happening in the journalist field. Other fields as well, seem not to be hiring folks who spend a lot of money to go to college and learn their profession, only to have difficulty finding a job in that field. Especially disconcerting is the fact that employers will state they “don’t have enough experience” – even when they were “top of the class”. Now how can a guy or a gal get experience in their field they trained and studied for without working in it?
    Hope your Christmas was good and wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year in 2008.

  4. Mick,
    Like I said, you are so hilarious! Hamburg has always been in the western part of Germany. You know, the part that was there before the wall came down? Eastern Europe is now firmly in the camp of the Bush administration, or haven’t you been paying attention for the past decade?

    So have you figured out your glaring error in the other post yet?

    Ian,
    Thanks for pointing that out. I put all of Germany in Eastern Europe. You should know your history, Germany and the Austrian Empire were always at war with Western Europe. Poland has more Western attitudes than your socialist countrymen and their economy is booming. So you are right, I must not call you an Eastern or Central European.

    I don’t use spell check. I should for people like you who would rather discuss that than your backward BIG BROTHER politics.

  5. Mick,
    How on earth am I supposed to have an intelligent debate or discussion with someone who keeps changing what I write in the comments? You show a complete lack of integrity in doing that, you know.

    Duface from Dusseldorf,
    We try to keep this popular Web site clean and high brow. Continuous balking at the issues and antisocial remarks are often cleaned up. Some web editors would just zap a negative dimwit like you. May I ask what you do for a living?

  6. Mick,

    The hatred and spite you direct at mainstream journalism in general, and journalists in particular, leads me to believe that you wanted to be a journalist, but failed to make the grade.

    And I don’t believe you should blame the “liberal media” in your lack of succes, or the job market. There is always a market for good people in any market. Why don’t you go get a job at Fox News? Or aren’t they right-wing enough for you?

    Oh, and btw: do you often find it a successful strategy to insult people by calling them a dimwit, and them ask them for information? Didn’t work this time.

    Do try to gather the guts not to change this.

    Ian,
    I have worked for some of the top newspapers and Web sites in the “major leagues.” We have had a nice little tool called spellcheck for the past 20 years (at least). Many journalists and columnists I worked with were poor or just average spellers. Major media is now outsourcing the cleanup duties of copy for print and the Internet to India.

    The best journalists have their own “smellcheck.” That can’t be outsourced or programed. I follow NBC, ABC, the BBC, CNN and FOX News. You are right, of all the major media, I would prefer to work for FOX, but I’m not looking to switch jobs right now.

    BTW- I set in bold your spelling errors and redundancies. I left your “hateful” insults here as well. Now, can you share with us what you do for a living? You have to be on a government payroll. Am I right? Please share with us! Does it involve cleaning bathroom stalls?

  7. It’s good to see someone calling out Joe Grimm for his “master of the obvious” comments. My personal fave is when someone writes in and says he/she doesn’t want to live hundreds of miles from the significant other. Joe’s response: Tap dance for a few grafs, then suggest they both get journalism jobs in the same city.

    Um, Joe: They can’t. That’s why the guy/gal wrote to start with.

    But Joe and many others at Poynter simply don’t want to admit how bad the market is. They just want to maintain the illusion that they, and they alone, have the solutions.

    Please keep highlighting the Grimm ideas. No one in the journalism industry is questioning his shallow tips.

  8. I believe that if many of the news outlets would focus on delivering some semblance of the truth, their circulation would be up and they wouldn’t be in so much trouble.

    And Ian… the drycleaner in Hamburg called… Your “brown shirts” are ready!

  9. Good one! You know the Nazi/Socialist troll is still reading. Maybe he will come out of hiding. I imagine he is at a free WiFi coffee shop in a Berlin suburb, smoking pot and drinking St. Paulie Girl.

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