Joe McKee Mass Communications Final Paper December 3, 2000 Journalism, Not For Everybody My report was done on Chris Uhler, a college sports columnist for the Baltimore Sun. Ever since he was a little kid he had loved to write. Whether it is papers for school or just writing in a journal. He most enjoyed writing in his journal that he had since he was fifteen years old. He actually still writes in a journal to this day on what exciting happens in his life that day.
Chris started writing in newspapers in his freshman year of high school for his high school newspaper. He dealt with the sports section of the paper. In his words "it was the most enjoyable writing I have ever done". Well I kind of know what he is talking about because I also wrote for my high school newspaper and I had a lot of fun doing it.
After he had graduated high school, he went to school at Eastern University. Here he took a mass communications course and found interest in newspapers and columnist writing to be getting stronger. So he became a mass communications major there and started writing in the university newspaper his sophomore year. His senior year he got an internship with a local newspaper in the area. He ended up working there after he graduated for a year. "This was a good way to get my foot in the door, but it was not fun at all" he said. After working there for two years he went to three different companies in which his career didn't last that long at any of them. Finally he ended up where he is now at the Baltimore Sun. When I asked him what he thought a normal day was like for him he told me that there is never one. You are always doing different things whether it be in the office working on a project or out at a game interviewing coaches and players. Sometimes you have a month to work on an article and sometimes you only have a day to get it done. Most of the time you never know how long your day is going to be either depending on what has to be done that day. Every day is different from the teams you cover to from day to day. You usually hope to get a local team because sometimes you have to travel far to cover some games or story.
Chris wasn't comfortable with telling me what he made as his salary or what other employees made that had the same position as him. But it sounded to me like he was stable enough to make a living.
When asked about if he liked working at the sun, he said that it has some advantages and disadvantages. I could pretty much tell though by the way that he said it that he wasn't enjoying it like he should be. He told me that he liked the kind of work that he was doing, but it's not were he is satisfied with this being as high as he goes. His expectations are very high that he puts on himself. I got the feeling tat he wasn't pleased with were he was at and that he wants to eventually be in a very high position in the newspaper business. He thought that the sun has a good chance of staying around for a long time and he doesn't think that newspapers will ever go out of business even with the Internet and new technology.
The Baltimore Sun has been running since May 17,1837 and is among the longest in American journalism. The sun has gone through a huge change in all aspects of the business since then. The Sun has one of the most talented writing staffs in the country. The Sun also covers stories from Washington D.C. and sells newspapers there also. The Baltimore Sun predicts good things for the future and long bright one.
When asked about what advice he could give to me or someone interested in journalism he replied, "my answer is very basic no matter what happens keep plugging away at every opportunity that hits you". No matter what you do you cannot give up right away cause it doesn't work as beautiful as everyone would like it to. The biggest surprise to me though during the interview was when he opened up to me and said that he did not enjoy were he was in his career and what his job entitled. I kind of got the feeling that he either was in a bad mood that day or he was not happy with where he was at in his life.
There are a lot of opportunities for students coming out of college or graduate school. Internships are the best way to get a job right out of school, but with a degree in communications you can get as good a job as if you were through internship. He may have got an easy break because of his internship but for most people it doesn't go that easy as it did for him.
Chris says that there is not a lot of competition for his job, but when he was at the last company he felt like he had to out write the other columnists with every story he wrote. He said that with most of the bigger companies you usually don't have to worry about competing with people in your company, but you are always competing with other newspaper companies. Most people who have the same job as Chris have either gone to college or went to some type of journalism school. At the Sun everybody that Chris has met has a college degree in either mass communications or journalism.
In closing, Chris says that whatever you want to do with newspapers whether it be a columnist or whatever make sure you are enjoying what you are doing, because what you do in life is what you have to do at least five days a week. It will also determine your social life depending on whether you will be depressed all the time from your job.