I get a lot of tweets about what it takes to get into larger markets. That’s always the goal right? The bigger you go, the better the money and the easier the job because you will have experienced co-workers around you. You have to aim high. Or do you?
When I graduated college, I quickly had an opportunity in a good station in what was market 28 at the time. I was intimidated but a professor of mine said, “Newsrooms are all the same, just go for it.” Guess what? They are not all the same. I have worked in small, mid and large markets. Small markets have a high novice factor usually. Large markets have some novices, incredible rising stars, people burning out and veterans enjoying the professional success they have. There is definitely more of a cut throat feeling (at least in my experience) in large markets. However, I learned the most from them because of that diversity of people.
Mid markets are often little gems many people overlook. Nowadays many mid markets pay more than large markets. Yes. You read that correctly. The mid markets appreciate their talent and try to encourage them to stay, so the newsrooms are often more stable. Small markets know they are largely revolving doors, training grounds for reporters and producers. Large markets know everyone wants to come work there. Competition is fierce getting there, and doesn’t let up once you arrive. It can be thrilling, until you want to settle down and have a family. Mid markets realize this and tend to offer very talented journalists nice contracts and more stability. You get to live in a place that’s great for raising kids and you get respect for who you are as a journalist. That can be harder to come by in small and large markets, though not impossible.
So when considering a market, focus less on the ADI size and more on whether the place will fit well with your lifestyle and, if applicable, whether it’s a good place to raise children. You may end up a lot happier that way.