Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Have you ever wondered why some companies bother to advertise for employees ? I refer to those who offer only internships with no salary. For example, here is a gem that I found on Craigslist. Yes, I know there is a rare treasure of quality listings on that site but tolerate my search there.

"Online parenting media company in search of savvy writer/researcher with an eagle eye and keen attention to detail to:
.. proofread, research and fact check locally-focused newsletter stories prior to publication
.. research story ideas and events for future publication.
.. update and maintain an internal calendar listing and database.
.. develop and update in-house style sheet.

Ideal candidate will have a firm grasp on the english ( English should be capitalized. How's that for AP style? TWH note) language, excellent
grammar and punctuation skills (knowledge of AP style a plus). (Parenthesis should be kept to a minimum. Yes, I know that I am commenting in passive voice.) Additionally,
he or she is naturally curious and in-the-know, willing to dig deep (both online and in the real world) to find off-the-beaten-path story ideas and insider tips for Bay Area parents.

This is a telecommuting position, with occasional team meetings. Candidate must be a self-starter, willing and able to work independently.

This is an unpaid internship. College credit available."

Er, if I have to correct the mistakes in this advertisement then there is something very wrong with those who publish the newsletter. I will not apply for employment with someone who requires AP style yet fails to capitalize proper nouns. Their offer of no salary and mere college credit has no incentive for the most desperate college student. Textbooks and tuition are expensive.

The advertisers for this employment can also write off those of us who provide content for cash.Who do they believe will answer this classified if there is not sufficient renumeration? I would not work for a newsletter pro bono unless there was prestige associated with the employer that could lead into more lucrative contacts. However, I would think twice before a decision on that matter. I attempted a gratis gig before and it led nowhere.

Time and so on, writers need to remind employers that we are not freebies. We are professionals that require payment on time to have decent lives that aren't wasted scrabbling after a publishers' dead end.

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