Magazine article The Masthead

Why I Hired a Guy Who Wasn't Old Enough to Get a Rental Car

Magazine article The Masthead

Why I Hired a Guy Who Wasn't Old Enough to Get a Rental Car

Article excerpt

He looked far across the crowd and there, in the glare of the sunlight, spotted what looked like his dream woman. He sidled up next to her and realized she looked younger than he first thought. As she began to speak, he realized she wasn't everything he was looking for.

"Excuse me, sir," she said to him. "Aren't you the driver's ed instructor at South High? I can't wait to take your class."

A loyal participant in NCEW's e-mail discussion group, I frequently had read Eric Gorman's thoughtful posts regarding an array of editorial issues. And when it came time to look for an editorial page editor, my first stop was the NCEW's jobs-wanted site. There was the name of a fellow who had written award-winning editorials at two dailies, a pretty good prerequisite for an editorialist at our 33,000-circulation daily.

Eric and I had some great discussions on the phone. And kind of like that driver's ed teacher, I thought I'd found a match. When it came time for Eric to interview in Vero Beach, however, I learned he wasn't old enough to get a rental car. In fact, Eric was barely old enough to buy a beer - legally.

Lack of perspective, life experiences, dealing with the public, basic reporting: As editorial writers go, these are key areas where expertise is required. Sure, Eric had some good clips and a good head on his shoulders, but could this youngster overcome these and other shortfalls?

I sought advice near and far. Frank Partsch of the Omaha World-Herald told me of a good experience he had with a young editorialist, who, coincidentally, came from the same university and professor. …

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