MEDIA

Small Town Paper Has Opening For 'Reporter Who Reads'

"So many kids you hire these days don't read anything."

The editor and publisher of a weekly newspaper in rural Idaho has taken a rather candid approach to finding his next employee.

"We have an opening for a reporter who reads," begins a help-wanted advertisement for the full-time position at the St. Maries Gazette Record in St. Maries, Idaho.

Owner Dan Hammes told The Huffington Post Monday that his posting is no joke. Hammes wants a journalist who is informed and curious -- someone who is excited to learn about the world.

And while it may seem obvious, Hammes stresses that anyone who works at his newspaper must read newspapers. 

"I'm old and I'm grouchy," Hammes laughed. "So many kids you hire these days don't read anything."

"Not to mention you can't write very well if you don't read," Hammes told HuffPost.

The posting elaborates:

It goes without saying the person we hire will be able to write, spell and edit. What also needs to be said is we prefer to hire reporters who read because we strongly believe that knowledgeable, informed people make superior reporters. We can excuse you if you have not read a book or two in a while, but the person we hire will be a newspaper reader. We are convinced that in order to be a respectable reporter, you must be informed.

Hammes compared his situation to that of a vegetable farmer: "Some people don't like spinach. Some people do. But if you're in the business, you better like your spinach."

"Don't be a reporter and not care about current events," he said.

Dan Hammes, the editor and publisher of the St. Maries Gazette Record, sits in his office during a phone interview with 
Dan Hammes, the editor and publisher of the St. Maries Gazette Record, sits in his office during a phone interview with The Huffington Post on Monday.

The listing, posted Dec. 17 on JournalismJobs.com, is honest from start to finish, including about the small-town feel of St. Maries, a quiet logging town about 150 miles from the Canadian border with a population of about 2,800.

So ... let's get the info about the community out of the way. Ours is a successful community newspaper in St. Maries, Idaho. This is a rural area. Think small town, rivers, lakes, mountains. Great outdoors recreation but no shopping centers, no crowds, no stoplights. If this appeals to you, you'll love it here. If you like shopping malls and Starbucks then you might want to move on to the next ad.

While some might find Hammes' words harsh or pessimistic, he is anything but. There are talented, hungry reporters out there, he said, and the ad is his way of getting their attention so that he can offer one of them a good job.

"I'm not going to hire the wrong person," he said.

See below for the full help wanted ad. 

 

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