Extra! Extra! Newspaper Jobs in NYC

POSTED October 23, 2004

By Ken Liebeskind

It's tough times looking for a job at a New York City newspaper. With ad sales and circulation stagnant, opportunities at the major papers are slim, especially for reporters.

While jobs at the major dailies are scarce, a city as large as New York has many other newspapers and there are a few opportunities there. Over the past year, free dailies have come on the scene, hiring new staffs as the papers break into the market.

And if you live in or are willing to work in the outer boroughs, there are scores of weekly papers that provide opportunities, on a smaller scale perhaps, but there is news in the outer boroughs, too, especially Brooklyn, where the purchase of the New Jersey Nets by Bruce Ratner has provided a field day for local coverage in the boro weeklies, which have seen circulation rise as a result.

Two free dailies now available in the city are amNewYork and New York Metro. The papers, distributed free at subway stations by aggressive hawkers, represent a new form of newspaper journalism -- short papers that can be read in a few minutes, ideal for people on the go and the young Internet generation that wants everything fast.

New York Metro, from Transit Publications, a division of Modern Times Group, which publishes 38 dailies across the county, launched the NYC edition this May and hired a staff of 65, according to Lois Schonberger, the paper's business analyst. There are four distinct job areas -- editorial, production, sales and marketing and circulation. Schonberger says some of the employees came from other company papers in Boston and Philadelphia, but there was local hiring, too. She declined to say what positions are currently available, but encourages prospects to call the office to apply. "The market is growing and we're doing well. Metro is looking to grow in the New York market and support other markets out of this office," she says.

AmNewYork, a product of the Tribune Co., which owns Long Island's Newsday, launched in October, 2003 and has expanded from an 18 to 38 page average with a circulation of 300,000, according to credit manager Jose Concepcion. Concepcion, who writes the pay checks, says there are job openings in certain categories, from editors and reporters to advertising sales. "Sales reps have more experience and we hire experienced writers and editors, but some are fresh out of college," he says.

Adam Hutton was fresh out of Kansas when he moved to New York with his fiancé, who came to the city to study art. He had reporting experience at a daily paper in Olathe, KS and another community paper there and was intrigued with amNewYork. "I was instantly attracted to the concept of a free daily paper," he says. Hutton got an internship at The Village Voice and met an editor at amNewYork there. He reworked a story he was working on at the Voice and pitched it to amNewYork who bought it as a freelance piece. The article, Al's Cash Grab, reported that Al Sharpton had pocketed 40 percent of his campaign contributions for the Democratic presidential race.

"That was how I got my foot in the door," Hutton says. The article ran in amNewYork in February and Hutton is now a staff writer for the newspaper.

For reporters, freelance articles like Huttons are perhaps the best way to break into the business. All city papers, including The New York Times, buy freelance stories, and while they may not lead to a staff position, they pay real money and provide clips for a reporter's portfolio.

Dozier Hasty, publisher of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a popular weekly, says "the best possibility is the freelance market, because there are so many publications. Someone who is willing to be aggressive and develop and present ideas could make an income freelancing. As a publisher, I may look at the publication and say the budget isn't there for staff, but if someone walks in with an article idea and I like the idea, I would certainly buy it because it will enhance the product."

While there may not be staff positions available at the Daily Eagle, there may be a few at a local competitor, The Brooklyn Papers. Publisher Celia Weintrob is looking for someone to sell ad space to local merchants and says there may be editorial openings as well. The company publishes 12 weekly titles for different Brooklyn neighborhoods and is renowned for its quality.

Weintrob has an interesting outlook on the current job situation. While job hunters frequently claim there aren't enough positions available, Weintrob says there aren't enough qualified applicants. "It's more difficult to find people who have serious track records," she says. "The quality of skills is way down." She blames the education system for the problem, saying people are graduating without solid communication skills.

Weintrob also says another Brooklyn community newspaper publisher, Brooklyn Skyline, is looking for reporters.

"This is the media capital of the world," she says, which suggests there should be newspaper jobs here. It's a tough market now, but there are a few opportunities out there in all areas of the newspaper business for talented professionals


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