Kick-ass ad for a muckraking journo

This amazing job-posting from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune advertises for a journalist who's willing to make trouble, go crazy, chase the story, and fight the good fight -- in Florida!
We do a mix of quick hit investigative work when events call for it and mini-projects that might run for a few days. But every year we like to put together a project way too ambitious for a paper our size because we dream that one day Walt Bogdanich will have to say: "I can't believe the Sarasota Whatever-Tribune cost me my 20th Pulitzer." As many of you already know, those kinds of projects can be hellish, soul-sucking, doubt-inducing affairs. But if you're the type of sicko who likes holing up in a tiny, closed office with reporters of questionable hygiene to build databases from scratch by hand-entering thousands of pages of documents to take on powerful people and institutions that wish you were dead, all for the glorious reward of having readers pick up the paper and glance at your potential prize-winning epic as they flip their way to the Jumble... well, if that sounds like journalism Heaven, then you're our kind of sicko.

For those unaware of Florida's reputation, it's arguably the best news state in the country and not just because of the great public records laws. We have all kinds of corruption, violence and scumbaggery. The 9/11 terrorists trained here. Bush read My Pet Goat here. Our elections are colossal clusterfucks. Our new governor once ran a health care company that got hit with a record fine because of rampant Medicare fraud. We have hurricanes, wildfires, tar balls, bedbugs, diseased citrus trees and an entire town overrun by giant roaches (only one of those things is made up). And we have Disney World and beaches, so bring the whole family.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune (via Making Light)


  1. For those unaware of Florida’s reputation,… We have hurricanes, wildfires, tar balls, bedbugs, diseased citrus trees and an entire town overrun by giant roaches (only one of those things is made up).

    Does anyone know which one was made up? Those all look like things Florida has. Could it be that some Panglossian chamber of commerce has gotten the legislature to define “disease” as stuff the citrus trees don’t have?

    1. I’m going to take an educated guess and say giant roaches, only because New York is the state with a town overrun by giant roaches (and shoe stores overrun by giant rats!)

    1. I’m from Florida. The one that’s made up is “an entire town overrun by giant cockroaches”. That implies it’s just ONE town – the truth is that EVERY town/city/suburb/etc. in Florida is overrun by giant cockroaches – but they’re clearly trying to attract out-of-state talent for this job, so they don’t want to scare them off by saying that.

      Florida does indeed suck the big one. It’s where criminal insanity comes from. We export FAR more of that than citrus fruit, but we keep a huge amount of it for in-state use too.

      People trying to get you to move to Florida will tell you things like “Well, the summers are pretty hot, but it’s just great the rest of the year!” – they fail to mention that summer is literally 10 months out of the year. The dry season (there is no winter to speak of) lasts the other two months if you’re lucky. You’re not always lucky. Some years they refer to as “the long, hot winter”.

      I’d leave if I had two dimes to rub together, but I don’t.

  2. I used to live just South of Sarasota in Venice, and I’m not quite sure which one is fake. I know that there is a town called Palmetto which may or may not be overrun by palmetto bugs (American Cockroaches). Sarasota is a great city, despite its advanced age. It’s got the Ca d’Zan and the Ringling Art Museum, amongst other interesting places.

  3. I cannot, !!!CANNOT!!!, believe the honesty of this ad! I am prostrate, hurling hosannah’s at whomever wrote this and again at whomever allowed it to be published and reveal the true, masochistic nature all professional journalists know and love.
    Sure, we get to go backstage, behind the scenes, and anonymously lurk in places the public rarely sees; but like the ‘Bonus Material’ on DVDs, including the Director’s Cuts from your favorite directors, . . . well, there’s a reason the cuts were made, a reason the ‘extras’ were left off, and a reason for the places the public rarely gets to see . . . mostly because they’re boring, time-wasting, and destroy any vestige of an illusion of coherency in the fantasy most people have woven for themselves.
    Super-Ultra-Mega Kudos to the . . . what the hell was the name of that paper again? Damn. See?! And we usually don’t even get overtime!

  4. This sounds so much like the premise of a Carl Hiassen novel. There’s the one about the reporter in Florida who travels up and down the state on the heels of a story. He travels to interview the winner of a megamega lottery in some imaginary Florida backwater. The town is famous for a holy oil spill in the road where pilgrims come to kneel before a rainbow-colored visage of Jesus. The town also boasts a religio-turtle sanctuary where the little turtles bear the images of apostles on their little turtle shells. So funny. The reporter gets involved with the lottery winner (of course.) There’s sex, there’s swamps, there’s a a harrowing, cross-state chase. There’s Hooter’s waitresses and violent, bumbling rednecks. Florida gets the screwball comedy treatment, which, given some of the things that actually do go on there, is not that far off the mark. Florida is beautiful, though, at least as far as the flora and fauna and beaches go. And I’d very glad to hear someone is hiring there. They need the jobs, boy howdy.

  5. Could “an entire town overrun by giant roaches” be made up? I thought every town in Florida was overrun by giant roaches.

  6. everyone ran off with the FLorida angle, but forgot the real issue here, that of proper investigative journalism… you just don’t get it anymore now that big media has swallowed up all the little networks and just pumps out the line they want you to hear… even down in the boondocks, there’s too many ways a story can get killed with pressure from above onto the owners of a newspaper

  7. No wonder Hunter S. Thompson loved Florida so much. He would have been the first to apply for this one. RIP Hunter.

  8. They are not giant cockroaches. They are Palmetto bugs. At least that is what I tell tourists when a giant, 3 inch roach flies through the air, smacks them in the head and subsequently gets lodged in their hair. Of course that is when they start what I have coined as the Palmetto Bug Dance. It’s kind of like the Humpy Dance only they are trying to remove a 3 inch roach from their hair.

  9. As an alumnus of the paper from many many years ago, this is startling. Hard to believe they actually did this, but it’s great.

    I should admit that once, when the Sarasota Herald-Tribune created an “I” team, I famously said out loud to some editors: “Oh great, you’ve put the I in the SH-T.” They were not amused.

  10. This is the town that busted Pee Wee Herman, Two Live Crew, and the state that prosecuted Mike Diana. But perhaps I am dating my self.

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