When companies try to be hip…

This is a job ad – so cutesy, so precious, trying too hard to be avant-garde, TMZ meets real world news.  What happens when competence is no longer a job requirement but  the look, feel and hipness are the primary criteria?  Will these news people know how to write a story or report a crisis?  Would anyone in business, government, law or authority take them seriously?  Is the ability to listen to other people’s podcasts and utilize apps sufficient; what about creating original content?

I’ve edited out the name of the company.  I want to thank “TI” for sharing this.   What else is there to say?

PRODUCER/EDITORS

The TV revolution is upon us  and the new ____ Company is leading the resistance. We’re recruiting a solid team of anti-establishment producer/editors, “preditors”, to collaborate on a groundbreaking morning news/infotainment format unlike anything ever attempted on local TV. Don’t sell us on your solid newsroom experience. We don’t care. Or your exclusive, breaking news coverage. We’ll pass. Or your excellence at writing readable copy for plastic anchorpeople. Not interested.

Sell us on this:

-Your fiery passion to help re-invent the ‘80’s rooted, focus-grouped, yuppie anchors and a news desk, super Doppler ultra weather style

-Your personal relationship with the internet, blogs, video-sharing, iPads, Droids, Blackberries, Blueteeth, Facebook & Twitter, and all things Modern Culture

-You’re in sync with the pulse of the streets, not the PC, Capital “J” journalism world

-You live and breathe content

-You know the difference between “buzzworthy”and “B.S.”

-You know your way around Final Cut Pro and easily embrace new production technologies

-Your greatest communication tool is a keyboard, your writing is “bleeding edge”, and you realize that when it comes to the written word, less is more

-You can survive and prosper in a modern, high brilliance standards “rock ‘n’ roll” culture where your supervisors are fearless and your peers are A-game “imaginators” with the highest of execution standards

-You’re an earbud wearing, app downloading, rss reading, podcast playing, text messaging, flip-flop wearing professional of any age or sex, with a real-world education, interests that are anything but mainstream, and the ability to translate your bent outlook onto the TV screen

-You “Get It”.

The creatively challenged, old-school TV News types and anyone lost in the ‘80’s should move on to the next “help wanted” ad. If this excites you, talk to us, shoot us your resume, your POV on TV News, links to your FCP editing and writing samples (whether they aired or not) and anything else you think might help sell you as a key member of this exclusive team.

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Author: Peter Shaplen Productions

More than four decades of experience as a journalist, producer, reporter, writer and professor of news, corporate production, crisis management.

7 thoughts on “When companies try to be hip…”

  1. Talk about messed up. Makes me wonder how this company thinks it is going to make money. Sounds to me as if they are going to simply be utilizing cheap labor to put out product that has no ethics and is willing to violate all rules of common decency.
    BUT I do like some of their attitudes.

    At the same time I think they are unable to understand the history and evolution of news, what makes news, and what consumers want to see/hear/read. And to blame the ’80s is ridiculous. I know many people (like you Peter) that would love to get their hands on juicy stories and get down to the bones and tear people apart. BUT if you don’t have a network/paper/website that is willing to fund the story, you can’t do the work.

    This company has lost all credibility with me simply by posting such an ad. BUT here is what I love and what I wish all journalist could be:

    -Your fiery passion to help re-invent the ‘80’s rooted, focus-grouped, yuppie anchors and a news desk, super Doppler ultra weather style
    -You’re in sync with the pulse of the streets, not the PC, Capital “J” journalism world
    -You live and breathe content
    -You know the difference between “buzzworthy”and “B.S.”

    And here is what scares me:

    -You’re an earbud wearing, app downloading, rss reading, podcast playing, text messaging, flip-flop wearing professional of any age or sex, with a real-world education, interests that are anything but mainstream, and the ability to translate your bent outlook onto the TV screen
    -Your greatest communication tool is a keyboard, your writing is “bleeding edge”, and you realize that when it comes to the written word, less is more
    -You can survive and prosper in a modern, high brilliance standards “rock ‘n’ roll” culture where your supervisors are fearless and your peers are A-game “imaginators” with the highest of execution standards

    There is no evidence here of wanting reporters that tell real stories. Stories that are honest and not biased. Stories that will stand the test of time and http://www.factcheck.org.

    This company scares and excites me at the same time. Not something that is easy to do. I think they watch/read too much TMZ and Perez Hilton.

  2. Lost in the 80s. That’s cool. Has buzz appeal. Nice to see people with values in journalism. Maybe they can stop the war and stuff.

  3. Hey Peter, I can’t quite figure out why you didn’t want to say which company put this up. It’s on the net for over two weeks now: KIAH-TV Houston a Tribune Broadcasting company.
    http://www.39online.com/about/station/jobs/
    https://careers-tribune.icims.com/jobs/15014/job

    But thanks for the heads up re modern business’ cra–ing on freedom of the press, a major bulwark of modern democratic government. Freedom of press I learned in J-School was to inform the public so it could better exercise its franchise, i.e., the public’s vote.

  4. It used to be journalism was the fourth estate holding up our fragile democracy while digging the rot out of the other three all while beating the stuffing out of crooked side corporate America.

    Newspapers and many TV station groups were held by families or family trusts with independent wealth and who, out of a sense of duty, ran their news operations as a pubic trust… until their bratty descendants decided to cash in after the original owners’ deaths in the 1990s and 2000s.

    Once local cross-ownership started to fall, and national ownership caps became but token gestures, the new national corporate owners cared more about quarterly profits than actual local journalism. It gets worse every day.

    Under Rupert Murdoch’s clarion call, the final and decisive blows are landing as more and more news outlets dump American-style public-trust journalism and dump it for Australio-British biased blunt advocacy and tabloitainment formats that are loathe to do investigative reporting that could piss off advertisers and lower short-term profits.

    But “news” needs controversy for its sense of immediacy. So the solution is finding a way to mine an endless vein of controversy that is guaranteed *not* to piss off advertisers attracted to your audience. FNC is brilliant in how it solved this dilemma: the controversy is in demonizing the people who AREN’T and never will be your audience. That way – you only alienate he folks your advertises don’t care about anyway – the folks who will remain non-watchers. Added benefit: your core audience grows because you cater to it and make it feel special.

    MSNBC followed suit in 2009, growing an anti-FNC audience and – crippling CNN in the process by stealing much of its younger, advertiser-sought audience.

    Of course programming executives who have their noses up in everything, anyway, sniffed that shift in fortune and are marching in lock-step to Murdoch’s pied piper tune; in doing so, they are dismantling the Fourth Estate and building the Fifth Column from its debris.

    I fear the only American-style journalism that will exist after the dust settles will be one or two publications still controlled by benefactors instead of public corporations – and public broadcasting.

    The New York Times has been teetering on bankruptcy for the past few years and, quite frankly, I don’t think it will survive the decade. Online sources like HuffPo are just going keep taking market share and continue to eat away at that newspaper’s audience.

    Case in point: Generation X was the last U.S. generation that grew up with newspaper as a primary source of information. I’m a member of that group – but these days we’ve pretty much ditched newspaper for the Internet. I’m a news junkie, but I do not think I’ve bought a “paper” newspaper in more than 3 years.

    Baby Boomers are the last generation that still reads newsprint in any significant number. But the youngest Baby Boomer is … 47? 50? It depends on where Boomers stop and X begins. Anyway, the fat lady is warming up for her song; the time is coming – probably before 2020 – when there just will not be a viable audience for newsprint news in most cities.

    But face it, as illustrated above by your post – it’s much worse as far as TV is concerned. Gen X is SOOO yesterday. There hasnt’ been a 20-something Gen Xer in years – but we’re used to being ignored having lived in the trough between the Boomers and their kids.

    The big awakening in my opinion will be, once again, caused by Boomers. The last of you guys are about to age out of the 25-54 age demographic within the next couple years. Unlike Gen X, which is accustomed to being ignored and adapting behind the scenes… Boomers are not known for being quiet or taking a back seat to anybody – I wonder what will happen when the last Boomer turns 55 and the last advertiser not selling adult diapers, age-disease medication or erection treatments turns its back on America’s trouble-making generation. A revolution, I hope.

    But until that happens the bloodbath now is just going to get worse.

    This is why I became disheartened and finally gave up on my 20-year career in news in 2006, went to law school and graduated in June with a J.D. at age 42.

    If I’m gonna sell my soul, anyway – I’d rather be upfront about it and make money while doing it.

    Luckily, the years I spend working with and alongside you, Peter, were some of the best. And I thank you for that.

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