Fun, rewarding job - Gained a TON of experience & contacts
Market Editor (Former Employee), Pflugerville, TX – April 8, 2014
Pros: fun, supportive culture; rewarding job; great career experience
Cons: some after-hours work requirements (city council meetings)
I was hired as a reporter, then was soon promoted to a market editor at Community Impact Newspaper where I worked for two years. It was one of the most rewarding jobs I've ever had in my life. I left the company to stay home with my baby.
Community Involvement: Management encourages editorial and sales staff to get involved in the communities that – more... you cover. I got to attend chamber luncheons and all kinds of events where I met hundreds of business owners and executives, city staff, community leaders and chamber members. I learned so much and made great contacts. It was more fun than work, but it gave me an opportunity to build genuine relationships with people, which ultimately led me to uncovering some GREAT stories that no other media outlet was covering. That is incredibly rewarding as a journalist. It is such a smart way to do business because Community Impact's executive team realizes that involvement in the community gives reporters contacts and perspective, and it also makes you care a lot about the community that you're covering - it becomes personal! Having that drive and passion is important because it makes your stories better. I think that's ultimately the driver behind why Community Impact's news articles are different and better than their competitors who are just churning out stories in communities they never set foot in (ahem, Austin American-Statesman and Austin Business Journal.)
Having reporters who are involved in the community also builds the newspaper's reputation and brand, which makes it easier to get sources to talk to you and easier to get the information you need for a good story. In addition, becoming this involved in the community introduced me to a lot of important processes and information that I have found to be personally beneficial. I am now a much more educated resident in my own community where I live because I understand better how state and local government works, what issues to be concerned about, and who to call when I want or need something done.
The only thing I will caution is that it is difficult to attend all the community events that you would like to attend as part of the community involvement responsibility and still get all of your work done! It takes balance and discipline, but it is doable with good time management.
Teamwork: In addition to finding the news and pitching story ideas to the editorial team, I really enjoyed working with the general manager and sales team to brainstorm on new businesses to cover and different parts of town that we should look into for news. The sales team was very good about sharing what they see when they are out making sales calls - whether or NOT the businesses were advertisers. We were a team, and they did not only pitch their ad clients; rather, they shared interesting things they found when they were out making calls, which made my job as a reporter easier because they would tip me off, and then I would investigate. I loved working side-by-side with the graphic designers to create images that supported and complemented my stories. They would even read my articles sometimes and give me good feedback before we went to print to make the end result better.
Putting together the paper was a very collaborative, team-oriented process that I loved. I have worked in other newsrooms where you were very isolated as a reporter, almost competing with your peers who worked at the same publication as you to get stories out. It is not like that at Community Impact at all - we all work together and help each other get the great stories. The graphic designers provide suggestions and support and only make the stories stronger. It is a lot of fun to collaborate on them and brainstorm the presentation of a big, lead story. So if you are a team player, Community impact would be great for you!
Fun: Finally, I will say that as a company, we did some really fun offsite "team building" events, including scavenger hunts at The Domain and party barges on Lake Travis. They held a big party every time a new paper would launch in a community, and we had a blast. Community Impact has a work-hard, play-hard atmosphere, and most of the staff are actually friends outside of the office and hang out on the evenings and weekends together. It really is a close-knit group, but not cliquish. I have stayed in touch with the majority of the people I worked with there and love stopping by to visit them. The company is continuing to grow and seems to only be getting better. – less
Account Executive (Former Employee), Pflugerville, TX – April 7, 2014
Pros: company culture, rapid growth, supportive management
Cons: my direct supervisor was difficult to work for but is no longer part of the company. also, there is limited downtime between production cycles.
This was the first job I had out of college and it was a great start to my professional career. Upper management was always willing to lend a helping hand and offered regular encouragement. The company was in the middle of some transitions and launching several new markets so there was a lot of change happening during that period but all of their "growing – more... pains" were for a short time. The pay is actually fair for the newspaper industry and there is always growth happening in the company which will offer you a chance to move up. The publisher and his staff are really engaged for a company this size and forward thinking is always encouraged. – less
Reporter (Former Employee), Austin, TX – July 15, 2013
First thing's first, this is more of a newsletter than a newspaper. George Orwell once said, "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed : everything else is public relations." Community Impact Newspaper touts themselves as a business journal, but be assured they are closer to a freelance public relations firm. There is no investigative – more... journalism going on here—in fact, they discourage ruffling anyone's feathers. Constant stories about advertisers and those with local influence raise questions about the integrity of this paper to report the facts and issues. I was told to gloss over anything that gave a story teeth, and to essentially be "more boring." This wouldn't have been an issue had they been up front about what they were/are doing, but the party line is to be unfadingly enthusiastic about hyperlocal reporting and providing a service to the community that they wouldn't get otherwise.
That being said, there are some nice people working at the CI. I met a few people that were absolutely fantastic and sharp, and told them so. It's a company built on Christian values, and although I'm not a Christian, I definitely feel like most of the people who work there are friendly enough and don't have any conscious ill intention, although the work environment is a bit stiff.
To me, the most bothersome thing is the rate of expansion and, conversely, the rate at which advertisers are pulling out. It SEEMS like when CI can't find success in an area, they consolidate it to run at the bare minimum with a few staffers, open up a brand new branch somewhere else, and feast on the new revenue coming in from new advertisers. Once those advertisers realize that it's not benefitting their business to pay CI lucrative amounts of money for a newspaper whose consequential content is severely lacking, they jump ship, and CI lathers, rinses, and repeats, opening up new branches and creating new sources of revenue while the old ones limp along, are shuffled around, or shut down. They basically move into an area, concentrate funds to that branch, exhaust the advertising potential, then move on to their next project without ever fully developing the old one. I say quasi-Ponzi scheme because the people working there aren't really investing their own money in the company, just their time and efforts, only to see it taken advantage of and squandered. This leads to a high turnover rate (check the history) of reporters and editors who leave because they're underpaid and overworked with no light at the end of the tunnel, and a company that keeps "re-establishing itself." However, the higher-ups make good money and all drive nice, new cars. It's the managers and everyone below them who get the shaft.
And conflicts of interests all over the place, as HR is related to the Publisher (CEO)...
Editorial intern (Former Employee), Austin, Texas – August 9, 2012
I worked as an unpaid intern, and I had to miss class time due to the load of work outside of my hours in the office. The hardest part of the job was answering to more than four bosses and being assigned multiple projects by each, unpaid. The publisher also had me work for his additional ad clients with the SEO for their websites. The publisher also – more... had two meetings with me to talk about implementing a digital strategy and platform for the paper as it continues its growth. After a verbal guaranteed job upon graduation, the publisher along with the associate publisher hired another applicant. However, their dedication to their community in Austin and elsewhere is apparent in every other form of the workplace. In everything that's executed at the paper the hyperlocal focus and their love of all things Austin is apparent. My passion for digital and social media along with my own love of a hyperlocal focus developed here, and I can't ask for anything more. – less
The productive and efficient team at Community Impact have created a name for this Austin based company in the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake community. Management at the paper recruited my services to help the office with administrative work as well as create and draft contracts and propsals for prospective clients. The team at Community Impact – more... thrived on self-motivation and everyone doing their part to make the paper complete every month.
On a daily basis, I would be meet with the Account Executive about what proposals were needed, the Graphic Designer to establish an ad that would please the client, and the Journalist to proof read article or capture photos.
There was not a part of the internship at Community Impact that was difficult, but more of a time period. When I came on, they were in the middle of an Anniversary edition of the paper and I needed to be caught up to speed as soon as I could. That also lead me to find that I most enjoyed not only the administration work but assisting with every facet of the paper – less