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Jungle journalism

"Jungle journalism" Continued...

Issue: "Unstoppable?," April 20, 2013

What’s your pitch to those you want to hire? I give them all the same lecture, which is: Life is short, you will die. And at the end, you won’t remember a single easy job you ever had. The only job you will recall is the job that asked everything of you—and this is one of those jobs. You may not love it at every moment. We will pay you a terrible, ridiculous, laughable salary. But we will give you all the Pop-Tarts you can eat, and you can sleep in the office if you want. And we are going to work you like an animal. We are the Viet Cong. We are going to march 50 miles in truck tire sandals on a bowl of rice, and we’ll sleep in a tree and get up the next morning, and do it again. This is an all-in commitment. And I’d say about 70 percent of the people I interview are looking for the exit. They want to escape. About 8 percent start vibrating like a tuning fork. It’s like a dog whistle, they can hear it. They want in. Those are the people we hire. And so far it has worked.

When you interview potential reporters for jobs, what sort of questions do you ask them? First, what do you read? I want to know what people read. We’re in the words business, so I want to hire people who love to use words and have a rich reading life. “I read The Washington Post” is not good enough: What books do you read?  

Personal qualities? Enthusiasm goes a long way with me. We have a very high tolerance for weirdness, so we hire a lot of people unemployable outside of journalism. Journalism is like the French Foreign Legion: You can just show up and get a new passport. As long as you can do the work, nobody cares where you came from. 

Video

Watch Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Tucker Carlson:

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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