The San Francisco Chronicle
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The San Francisco Chronicle Staff Reporter & Writer Interview Questions & Reviews

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Staff Reporter & Writer Interview

Staff Reporter & Writer
San Francisco, CA

I applied in-person and interviewed at The San Francisco Chronicle.

Interview Details – For a reporter or assignment / desk editor job: he best way to get hired is to write directly to the Department Head (City Editor, Features / Datebook Editor, Deputy Managing Editor for Features).

For copy-editing job, write to head of copy editors. Sorry, forgot that title.

Avoid HR.

Write a kick-ass cover letter, and send resume.

If you know anyone who works there, have them put in a plug. Like everywhere, it is who you know.

Getting an interview is more than half the work. For newsroom job on interview day, you will talk to the department head, an assignment editor, a few colleagues, then the Managing Editor and/or Executive Editor. All 1 on 1, no group interview. Most done in a single day....

Very mellow, surprisingly. Not a grueling interrogation at all. If you've gotten to the interview stage, they want to like you. The job is almost yours -- unless you kick it away.

I think they called one reference. No written tests (except, I'm sure, for copy editors) -- except maybe a drug test? Can't remember.

BTW, it's a fast process. It's a Yes or No within days!

Interview Question – Shockingly, for a bunch of journalists, they ask very few good or hard-ball questions. It's mostly chatter about your experience. Be enthusiastic. Be friendly. Don't try to impress -- comes off arrogant. (Most in newsroom did NOT come from Ivy League or big city newspapers; there's a real inferiority complex // defensiveness there!) Like everywhere else, people hire less on resumes and more on who they like.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Get it ALL up front!!!!!!! You will never see a raise (other than union raise, which is paltry, at best)!

There's always a teeny bit of play on salary. Maybe $50-$100 from their initial offer. Salaries are really awful., especially for a major newspaper in such an expensive city. Of course, ideal if you have another offer or at least another interview with another newspaper ....

**Call up the Newspaper Guild BEFORE your interview, and find out what the salary ranges are for the job you're applying for! NOT just the Guild minimum, but what people are actually making!

**Try to get at least one extra week vacation -- it's easy for them to give up.

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