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?
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.