Al Tompkins of the journalistic think tank, the Poynter Institute, writes a daily list of suggestions for stories newsies can pursue. I usually don’t pay much attention to it because I figure if I need someone else to come up with ideas of what is newsworthy, I need to find another line of work.
But today he talks about WHAS in Louisville, which airs programs with help wanted announcements. His column reminded me that on the drive down from Cloquet this morning, I listened to a radio station in St. Cloud (there’s about a 5-mile stretch of I-35 in which you can’t get an MPR station) which was doing the same thing.
Partly out of general interest, and partly out of personal interest, I turned the volume up to hear what’s available: “Housecleaner for senior citizens. Must have good sense of humor.” Why do I need a good sense of humor. Does the toilet tell a joke while I’m cleaning it? Does the senior citizen also require someone to entertain while dusting. Pass. “Bus driver…. must have experience.” Pass. “District sales manager. Plan strategies for future growth.” I know what that means: Sales calls. When I got out of college, I took a job at a small radio station selling advertising time. One of the few clients I had in my two-week career was a nursing home that wanted me to stress the “family atmosphere” of the facility. It had none unless you came from a very, very dysfunctional family. Pass. “Census taker. Full and part-time position available.” I looked this one up online. If you’re born after December 1959, you have to be registered with the Selective Service system. Why? When we start another war, are we going to fight it with census takers? Pass.
I’m sure there were more, but by this time I was back in range of an MPR station and a segment that told me I have to stop eating dairy and meat because I’m leaving too big of a carbon footprint. Instead the guy recommended a lunch of oatmeal with soy sauce.
The fog in which I was driving seemed entirely appropriate.
About the blogger
Bob Collins has been with Minnesota Public Radio since 1992, emigrating to Minnesota from Massachusetts. He was senior editor of news in the ’90s, ran MPR’s political unit, created the MPR News regional website, invented the popular Select A Candidate, started several blogs, and every day laments that his Minnesota Fantasy Legislature project never caught on.
NewsCut is a blog featuring observations about the news. It provides a forum for an online discussion and debate about events that might not typically make the front page. NewsCut posts are not news stories.