An opportunity for the right person to be Clark County’s version of ‘Spotlight’

Ken Vance Editorial Clarkcountytoday.com

ClarkCountyToday.com has an opening for a comprehensive, in-depth news reporter

In 2015, I went to see the movie Spotlight. I didn’t realize at the time that it would later win Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. There aren’t many movies made about the newspaper industry, and since I’ve spent most of my career as a journalist, I’m a captive audience for such films so they don’t have to be worthy of an Academy Award to lure me into the theater.


Trailer courtesy of IMDB

If you didn’t see the movie, you should. It’s about The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight’’ team, which according to Wikipedia is “the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative journalist unit in the United States.’’ Specifically, the movie follows the “Spotlight’’ team’s investigation into cases of child sex abuse in the Boston area by Roman Catholic priests. The movie is based on a series of stories by the team that earned The Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

For most journalists, Spotlight illustrates an era gone by in the profession many of us hold so dear to our hearts. When I watched the movie, I couldn’t help but think of how rare it is these days for news organizations like The Globe to devote the resources necessary to conduct in-depth, comprehensive, investigative reporting.

As you undoubtedly are painfully aware, the journalism industry has downsized considerably since The Globe won its Pulitzer Prize for its work investigating the Catholic church. Investigative reporters, let alone a team of investigative reporters such as The Globe’s “Spotlight’’ team, are a luxury most newspapers just can’t afford.

The staff sizes of news organizations today just don’t allow for the time necessary to provide the general public with that type of reporting. Labor-intensive stories, or a series of stories like that of The Globe featured in the movie Spotlight, are far too often sacrificed for lower-hanging fruit — stories that are far-less labor intensive.

Reporters these days often are no longer encouraged to use multiple sources for stories, when one or two will get the job done and allow the story to be published and the reporter to move on to the next assignment on their desk. Reporters are evaluated by the quantity of stories and the reaction the stories get on social media rather than the quality of the report, or the impact the story has on the community.

I could go on and on about this dynamic in the industry I’ve devoted my career too. But, the purpose of this diatribe is to share with all within earshot that ClarkCountyToday.com has an opening for an investigative, in-depth hard news reporter. No, this position isn’t the equivalent of The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight’’ team, but it is a tremendous opportunity for a journalist who wants to be given the opportunity to make an impact on our community. We are eager to expand our staff for just the right journalist.

Clark County is a tremendous place to live. As editor of ClarkCountyToday.com, I love sharing stories of the wonderful people who live here, reporting their accomplishments and what they are doing to benefit others. We will continue to do that. But, we haven’t done enough to provide you with the in-depth, comprehensive reporting that you deserve. And without getting into a war or words with my journalistic brethren in Clark County, we’re not the only ones falling short in this aspect of our responsibility to you.

The preamble to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics reads:

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity.’’

That might sound like we’re being a little self-involved, or placing a little too much importance in our role in this society. But, I don’t think so. One of the reasons we created ClarkCountyToday.com was because we believed there was a void of quality, in-depth journalism here in Clark County. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in other performance areas in such a short period of time, but we haven’t filled that void. I believe the right reporter could help us do just that.

So, if you believe you’re that reporter, or you know a journalist you think might be that reporter, please contact me at ken.v@clarkcountytoday.com. We offer more than a competitive salary and benefits, and more importantly our staff members will testify that we offer an unmatched work environment, level of support and freedom and flexibility.

I know the journalist I’m looking for is out there. Please help me find him or her.

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About The Author

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Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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