Friday, June 04, 2004

Jobs for the Persons

Queen of Diamonds

The Guardian advertised for trainee journalists this week. I spent about fourteen hours of my free time today to completing the lengthy application form, writing a total of some 6,100 words in answer to a total of 25 essay-style questions, which I presume will be used to evaluate the applicants' writing abilities as well as their experiences. I really can't explain WHY I wasted all this nice day , when I am tied up all weekend, to try to persuade a newspaper that I read only so that I can snipe at it on this blog to hire me. Then an analogy struck me: I think I must have been brainwashed by some dark conspiracy to destroy the paper as a Manchurian Candidate (or perhaps a Mancunian candidate in this case?). You had better not show me any playing cards or I might get violent!

Incidentally, a remake, starring Denzel Washington, of the movie of Richard Condon's brilliant book is coming to our screens shortly. According to the trailer, the villian now seems to be something called the Manchuria Corporation, reflecting today's Naomi Klein/George Monbiot anti-capitalist paranoia.

Is the studio being ironic, suggesting that we are being trapped in irrational MacCarthyite hysteria, which prevents us from understanding a power which is not a threat to us and with whom there will eventually be a warm entente? Somehow, I don't think so. Who do the scriptwriters think makes these movies? Maoist collectives? Amish community gatherings?

The advert seems to be looking for somebody quite different from me. For a start,
Applicants will come from a wide range of backgrounds and will be able to demonstrate an interest in public or community affairs through voluntary work, political campaigning, public debating, social work or other related activity. Applicants will have shown their interest in journalism through writing, broadcasting, cartooning, webcasting or news or feature photography for public dissemination.

So, it seems that they're looking for the young idealistic types who've spent the last year after finishing a third class degree in sociology battling to save the greater spotted toilet-bowl fungus from extinction at the hands of evil corporate interests tied to Halliburton and starting long, argumentative threads about the sacred cause at Indymedia. So, they're basically looking to train the next generation of statistically-challenged crackpot activist/journalists. Am I the only one who thinks there's something wrong with having these pressure group groupies from the NGO world, with their publicity-seeking hysteria, given preferential treatment in access to media jobs? Aren't newspapers supposed to filter facts and opinions? Otherwise isn't it taking the fox in the henhouse? On the same principle, why not just have politicians and businesses write stories about themselves in the same way or nominate the people who do?

The ad also specifies that:
Candidates must be fluent in English and at least one other language, including but not limited to foreign languages, computer languages, English dialects or the vocabulary of music, art or science.
Good, I'm sure I'd find myself conducting interviews and penning articles in C++ or Visual Basic. I listed Chinese and French as my two languages, but I could have suggested my Dublin accent instead by the look of things.

Then, why describe other special expertise as being a language, rather than a skill? It's an unusual usage, particularly strange to see from a newspaper.

The vague promise of future prospects looks positively Clintonian,
Successful completion of the training scheme may lead to an opportunity within GNL
with the probability of a job after performing well, the opportunity to be offered (office cleaner?) and employer (is GNL only the newspaper or some other, random operating company?) lost among weasely evasion.

Final date for receipt of all applications: Friday 4th June 2004

Like any good journalist (you wish!) I thrive on working to deadlines, so I dispatched this at 23:45 on Friday night, which I would regard as being before the deadline, albeit by a slim margin.

I'd put my chances of them grasping the viper to their breat by calling me to interview is very low, and zero if they come to read my scribbling here.

Has anyone else, apart from Scott Burgess actually applied for this?

Peter ??