The thing about really good journalists is that they aren't like normal people. They're slightly touched in the head. They're generally well educated, clever and capable people who could be making a lot more in some other industry, but for whatever reason don't. While most of us would respond to job listings that include highlights like a good salary, decent benefits, flexible hours and the promise of job security and a clear career path, the impassioned journalist, whether intentional or not, is likely on the lookout for a job that causes optimal amounts of stress and misery.
So kudos to The Sarasota Herald-Tribune for running a listing looking for investigative writers that's equally bizarrely insane and brutally honest. It, of course, mentions every journalist's wet dream/nightmare of getting to cover the news in Florida as one of the few plus points.
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We want to add some talent to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune investigative team. Every serious candidate should have a proven track record of conceiving, reporting and writing stellar investigative pieces that provoke change. However, our ideal candidate has also cursed out an editor, had spokespeople hang up on them in anger and threatened to resign at least once because some fool wanted to screw around with their perfect lede.
We do a mix of quick hit investigative work when events call for it and mini-projects that might run for a few days. But every year we like to put together a project way too ambitious for a paper our size because we dream that one day Walt Bogdanich will have to say: "I can't believe the Sarasota Whatever-Tribune cost me my 20th Pulitzer." As many of you already know, those kinds of projects can be hellish, soul-sucking, doubt-inducing affairs. But if you're the type of sicko who likes holing up in a tiny, closed office with reporters of questionable hygiene to build databases from scratch by hand-entering thousands of pages of documents to take on powerful people and institutions that wish you were dead, all for the glorious reward of having readers pick up the paper and glance at your potential prize-winning epic as they flip their way to the Jumble... well, if that sounds like journalism Heaven, then you're our kind of sicko.
For those unaware of Florida's reputation, it's arguably the best news state in the country and not just because of the great public records laws. We have all kinds of corruption, violence and scumbaggery. The 9/11 terrorists trained here. Bush read My Pet Goat here. Our elections are colossal clusterfucks. Our new governor once ran a health care company that got hit with a record fine because of rampant Medicare fraud. We have hurricanes, wildfires, tar balls, bedbugs, diseased citrus trees and an entire town overrun by giant roaches (only one of those things is made up). And we have Disney World and beaches, so bring the whole family.
Send questions, or a resume/cover letter/links to clips to my email address below. If you already have your dream job, please pass this along to someone whose skills you covet. Thanks.
1741 Main St.
Sarasota FL, 34236
This all, for better or worse, sounds par for the course for any Florida newspaper job, except maybe the building "databases from scratch by hand-entering thousands of pages of documents." C'mon Herald-Tribune, don't you have lowly paid freelancers or unpaid interns to do that for you? Get with the slightly-labor law skirting program.
So next time you feel like leaving a nasty comment on an article or, conversely, hear some high school kid talk about how he's going to major in journalism, remember the profession is one of hellish work, very occasional glory and low pay. (Side-note to the potential journo majors: if you're looking for something similar with lower pay, but less work, there's always pro blogging. Some people even confuse you for a journalist once in a while.)