Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dull DC Journal Seeks Young Thomas Friedmans

Posted By on Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 12:05 PM

click to enlarge nj.jpg

The National Journal, The Atlantic's lackluster DC sibling, is seeking a cadre of college graduates with "extreme talent" in its continued attempt to challenge Politico's domination of DC news.

In a major step toward this goal, current Associated Press Washington bureau chief Ron Fournier also agreed today to become the new editor-in-chief of the National Journal Group.

According to a job description (full PDF below), the Journal is looking for 24 reporters in two categories:

1. Breaking News - Especially web savvy The idea here is to identify reporters made for--naturally wired for--breaking news. High metabolism. Relentless. Unstoppable. Prolific.

2.  Original Insight The

intention here, harder to realize, is to identify individuals made 

for--naturally wired for--original insight, original frames for comment

on the large, national issues. Economist rigor; Tom Friedman insight.

In an e-mail to a college newspaper, David Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media, which owns the National Journal, wrote earlier this month that the company was looking for "arresting talent," and that it would hire about 30 reporters and editors by the end of the summer.

"I don't

think we need restrict our search to graduates still seeking work in

journalism," he wrote. "Under the theory that talent knows talent, I'm happy

for our staff to talk with anyone who might, in turn, know others to


For the original insight positions, Bradley wrote that he was trying to find "writers

whom you could see, one day, writing columns or leaders for the New York

Times or the Economist."

Recruiting top college newspaper talent is a new part of Atlantic Media's strategy to reinvent the National Journal for the web, in the

same way that it successfully rebranded The Atlantic, starting in 2007.


Journal's current political reporting is "Sahara in August dry stuff," as one

journalist I know put it.


critics slam Politico, the Beltway enfant terrible, for driving a

24-hour-news cycle powered by insider gossip and meaningless scoops. But since

it was created in 2007, Politico has increasingly shoved the city's traditional

news outlets to the sidelines.

It seems that Bradley's goal may be to make the Journal as fast and relentless as Politico, but smarter--think The

Economist on crack.

To do this, Bradley is looking for hires who are genetically predestined -- or,

umm, programmed? -- for the positions he's looking to fill.

Not only

is the Journal seeking candidates "naturally wired for" breaking news or

insightful opinion,  Bradley described Fournier as stepping forward

"at an aggressive, competitive hour in journalism -- as if wired by nature for

this leadership role."

Bradley's "wired by nature" rhetoric seems to buy into the OCDification of Washington reporting, dramatized

most vividly in a New York Times Magazine profile of Politico's star reporter,

Mike Allen, a man whose devotion to his job comes across as superhuman.

It's not

enough anymore to be talented, hard-working, and experienced -- to succeed in DC

these days, a journalist should be another Allen (or, if you're lucky, a

cross between Allen and Tom Friedman, circa 1978).

Allen, of course, was the one who broke the story this morning about the National Journal hiring Fournier, as well as co-writing Politico's story on General David Petraeus replacing General Stanley McChrystal.


journalists with this kind of "arresting" or "extreme" talent can send their

resumes to

At least

it's better than applying to be a "Jr. Staff writer."

The full PDF job description is below.

Extreme Talent.pdf

Follow us

on Twitter @loisbeckett , @thesnitchsf, and @sfweekly


in more SF Weekly media reporting?

Get a Newspaper Job, No 'Complexity, Analysis or Narrative' Required

Behind the Scenes at 48 Hour Magazine


  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , ,

About The Author

Lois Beckett


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"