I’m hiring. Here’s what I’m not looking for…
A multimedia journalist who graduated from a prestigious j-school with excellent grades and a winning smile.
I can’t afford you. I don’t want you. And you’ll hate working here.
I’m looking for a recent college grad (or dropout) who learned a little too late s/he just doesn’t fit in – even though journalism was once a profession of misfits.
Brief but related tangent…
I came of age when most newspapers were small businesses. Big chains had only just started gobbling up family-owned papers.
At the time, I thought, “Awesome! This’ll be the best of both worlds: newsroom culture with corporate wages!” Instead, I’ve suffered through 30 years of corporate culture with newsroom wages.
Anyway, here’s the job posting. And here’s the story behind it…
Google is saving journalism.
A few months ago, I was hired to launch a news site – by an international financial services company that’s done many things for a couple decades, but never journalism.
But over the past 18 months, Google has updated its search algorithms (with code names like Penguin and Hummingbird). Now Google prizes “unique sharable content.” Type those three words into a Google search bar and prepare to be amazed at how many online marketers now extol the virtues of clear writing and solid reporting.
That means, for the first time, web-savvy journalists are profit centers.
This definitely-not-staid financial services company has launched a news site called Debt.com. I’m the editor, and I have yet to be told what to write (although I’ve been hit with some weird suggestions).
We’ve only just started to cover personal finance news and offer online education so Americans don’t drown in debt. We have big plans to cover the politics of debt and even the sex of debt.
We have a staff of three full-timers. You’ll be the fourth. Half the staff is also redesigning the nonprofit’s business site and handles basic copywriting. So while there’s editorial independence, there’s also overlap – but only if you want it. Your job is to write and edit the journalism, but you’d be stupid not to learn everything you can.
This job has proven both exciting and challenging. Exciting because it’s brand-new and how the future of journalism is probably going to develop. Challenging because we’ve had to explain and defend basic tenets of our craft to some very smart people who have no idea what the hell we’re talking about.
We’ve taught them some stuff, but they’ve taught us more – bleeding-edge lessons from a full-time SEO guy, a full-time PPC guy, a woman who’s been a nonprofit PR innovator for decades, an affiliates expert fondly known around the office as Darth Vader.
Not only that, but you’ll be working on a still-new website that doesn’t yet fire on all cylinders because it’s trying to run tech that few other sites have ever attempted, and none that we can find does very well. As for the content, what it is today won’t be the same tomorrow, so if you can’t handle radical change on a dime, this isn’t the place for you.
But if cubicle work that’s the same every day of every week of every month bores you to tears, this might be your first or next interesting stop.
No calls. Here’s how to apply.
Know this: We’re not happy with, nor proud of, our site. It’s not nearly as good as we expect it to become once you get here. So don’t read what we’ve done and think that’s all we want.
Send us your 5-6 best clips that resemble our posts we despise the least…
• How to go into debt the right way – explains what we want to accomplish someday soon.
• The 26 best party schools – and how to convince your parents to send you – we like to apply rigorous journalistic techniques to amusing topics.
• MyRA: Your newest (and easiest and best?) retirement saving option – I know I’m not objective, but I think our youngest editor did a better job of explaining a new retirement plan than even the biggest newspapers.
Include a resume that doesn’t suck. (Here’s advice on not sucking.)
As editor/content director, I’ll shortlist the emails and let the associate editor and associate content director choose 2-3 candidates for a Google Hangout. I’ll also let you talk to them without me around, so you can get the straight shit about the good and evil of this place and this boss.