Memory Lane: Hiring Reporters

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It used to be part of my job, as managing editor, to hire reporters for our newspaper. Mostly I hired high school and college students. They were enthusiastic, quick to learn, and excited by the opportunity. With just a little training, most of them went on to be perfectly serviceable stringers. Some of them even went on to become full-time reporters.

Now if an ordinary bright teenager can do it, surely a journalism school graduate can. (Gives you an idea of how idealistic I used to be, doesn’t it?) Along comes this guy from the University of Whatsit School of Journalism–highly recommended, my publisher is already crazy about him… He even carries a handbag. Very avant-garde.

I send him to cover a school board meeting. He comes back and writes this tiny paragraph about how nothing happened. Something told me I’d better check, so I phoned the board president. It turned out the board that night had voted by spend millions of dollars on a highly controversial plan to expand the high school.

Well, maybe he can do a feature story. There’s a mutual support group for people who’ve been diagnosed with fatal illnesses. They’re still able to get around a little, but their number is up. You’d think they’d have a few poignant things to say.

Mr. J School came back from their meeting without a story. “They just didn’t have all that much to say,” he told me. He must have missed that lesson on “Asking questions.”

I wanted to fire him. Finally the publisher got to wondering why he wasn’t seeing Mr. J School’s byline on his paper. “It’s because he doesn’t write anything,” I explained. So I finally got the green light to send him packing.

I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he eventually found a cushy home in someone’s nooze factory.

3 comments on “Memory Lane: Hiring Reporters

  1. The colleges are only getting worse. I see it all the time, when dealing with various companies, whom hire people with impressive degrees and zero real-world experience or common sense. Some of what I see is truly pathetic; businesses that cannot handle a simple transaction without fouling up.

  2. Lack of true journalism in America is one of our greatest grief – they don’t name names. The Covid coverage has been the worst journalism yet. So many infected? – well how sick are they? How many hospitalized? Do they have comorbidity issues? How many died? Did they die from Covid or with Covid? They never say. You have to do your own research from reliable sources like Frontline Doctors, Dr. Malone (who invented the mRNA technology), Dr. Merrit and others in the know. Even the CDC website says only 6% of the deaths attributed to Covid were by Covid alone. The VAERS lists tens of thousands who have died from the jab – so why in the world are not these vaccines not prohibited?

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