Sarasota Herald-Tribune resurrects head-turning ‘help wanted’ ads

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A journalism career with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune Media Group will be an interesting experience from the start — beginning with the job posting itself.

Known for having some of the most fascinating help wanted ads in the business, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune tries to attract a new generation of reporters — ones with an innate feel for social media, data sets and CSS style sheets.

There are two openings at the Herald-Tribune: one for “health business reporter in paradise,” and another for “the best journo-nerd wins.” Obviously, they are not looking for an old-school reporter with newsprint ink-stained fingers; the ideal candidates will be keyboard jockeys who are equally comfortable with a smartphone, tablet or notepad and a pen.

How else can you explain using terms like journo-nerds, content producers, data visualization and social-media mavens?  

But more than the tools, the next Herald-Tribune superstar “enterprise journalist” will possess a deep yearning that is as old as the printing press itself, to dig deep for the best stories — through data mining, “scraping” websites and good-old fashioned brain power — for both print and digital viewers.

Of course, the suits in the home office use all the right corporate J-school buzzwords — storytelling skills, self-starter, big-picture thinking and staff-empowered.

If catchwords are not enough, then the Herald-Tribune pulls out the big guns; it is a Pulitzer Prize winner and three–time runner up, as well as an APME Innovator of the Year Finalist. Therefore, journalism is still at the heart and soul of its business model.

This being Florida, the ad also throws in a good regional sales pitch — giving the lowdown to those individuals from parts north, who may be unfamiliar with the Sunshine State (if they even exist), reminding them that Florida is a great place to live.

That is as long as you don’t mind sweating “a lot in August, but did we mention our sunsets and world-class beaches?”

What the ad doesn’t include — and it should — is that Florida is a great news state. Not only does it have some of the most open public records laws in the country, but there is always something exciting and engaging to report on, be it the weather, health care, tourism or politics.

For those looking for that dream career in the new landscape of digital journalism, while working in one of the most beautiful regions in America — the Herald-Tribune might be just the ticket.

And if it isn’t a perfect job, at least it will be an interesting experience from the start.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.