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Are good clips better than great clips?

March 25, 2011

I’m still not sure why it happened, but I woke up the other day with the following thought.

When it comes to hiring a new reporter, every editor has the same routine: post ad; ask prospective reporters to send in a cover letter, resume and clips; evaluate.

If I was an editor (and thank God I’m not), I’d consider a slight tweak. Instead of asking for “several recent writing samples,” I’d ask for the reporter’s single favourite piece, along with three more non-series pieces from a week over the past year. In a community newspaper environment, I think it’s much more valuable to have someone who can produce several examples of top-notch work from a single week than someone who can find three exceptional pieces from the past couple years.

Alternately, if I was applying for a job right now (and praise Allah that I’m not), I’d consider eschewing the old three-best-clips strategy in favour of three good clips from a single week.

Good idea? Bad idea? Leave a comment.


This blog had more visitors in February than any previous months. It’s still a one-person show, though, so any help would be great. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-mail bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  1. March 25, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I assume you mean that if you’re an editor at a Black Press paper, you could raid a smaller paper in the Interior, correct?
    It still seems like you’d need to post the job listings, if only internally, because it’s unlikely you’d know of every promising reporter at Black’s dozens and dozens of papers. In that case, you’d still have to sort through a wack of press clippings.
    I wonder, how much pressure is there on editors to hire from within the chain?

    • Anonymous
      March 27, 2011 at 8:49 pm

      There’s none I’ve experienced.

  2. March 25, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Or you could pluck the one you want from a paper outside the Lower Mainland?

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