Newspaper Job Ad Goes Viral
Matthew Doig of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune posted a want ad for an investigative reporter and it's gone viral.
Matthew Doig of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune posted a want ad for an investigative reporter a couple weeks back. The meat of it:
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.
Doig tells Jim Romenesko he is mystified by the attention.
This was my first job post. But I took a similar approach when I was looking for a job about 10 years ago. I wrote what you’d probably consider a “non-traditional” cover letter figuring that anybody who didn’t like it would also not like me (and vice-versa). The guy who hired me at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Chris Davis, told me he never even read the clips I sent. He just loved the cover letter. And he and I have gotten along about as well as any reporter and editor can, so my strategy must have worked.
Apparently the strategy worked for the job ad, as he’s gotten a flood of serious inquiries.