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Celebrating 25 years of publishing

Published February 18, 2020


Help wanted to understandthe help-wanted ad

By John Toth / The Bulletin

I recently came across a help-wanted ad for a magazine editor’s position that threw me for a loop. Back in the days when I was looking through employment ads, things were a lot more ... understandable.

When I was searching for my second newspaper job, the ad just stated that they were looking for a copy editor and a beat writer. Then there was a phone number and the name of the paper.

I applied for the writer’s job. The managing editor who was conducting the interview stuck to the basics: Have you covered police? Yes. I covered schools, police, county, sports, I filled in on the desk, you name it. On a small paper, you get to do it all.

He liked what he heard and offered me the job. I took it on the spot. We shook hands, and two weeks later I showed up for work. Simple enough.

The magazine job ad stated in part: “Think and execute both strategically and tactically. Experience converting ideas into timely, results-oriented content. Ability to think big while being detail-oriented.”
I would have been in big trouble if the editor who interviewed me threw out something like that.

I was reading some police reports and looked around for a few cops to interview. Was that converting “ideas into timely, results-oriented content?” I think it was, if that actually means writing a story on deadline.

“Proven ability to work across an organization at all levels with technical, creative, and executive team members.”

Team members like reporters and editors? I can do that. I can work on the editing desk if you need me. Did I get that one right?

“Collaborative, communicative team player, independent thinker, multi-tasker able to thrive in fast-paced, goal-oriented, high-achieving culture.”

Someone spent a lot of time thinking this one up. I’m going to need a translation from high-brow to regular lingo.

“Develop daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly topics, plan and maintain a corresponding editorial calendar.”

Things sure got more complicated since I was interviewing for that reporter’s job.

“Work with outside contributors to develop and strengthen a wide range of content/projects.”

I can handle this one. Spruce up freelancers’ articles. There, I translated it, I think. I’m getting better.
“Collaborate across all content platforms to ensure consistency and coordination of topics, initiatives, product focus, and company objectives.”

I admit that I’m a little lost on this one, but I think the job requires that you post articles on the Internet. That may be the initiative.

“Identify unique opportunities to use content to increase engagement and audience growth.”
Possible translation: Write stories that people will read.

The candidate has to be “strong- willed, not intimidated or deterred.”

This one is my favorite, partly because I actually understood it. I would be perfect for this job, and I always wanted to edit a magazine. But for now, I’ll just settle for putting out The Bulletin each week. That’s my product focus.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)