A sad passing, a sorry job posting

Bonnie Clincher Red Elk

Photo by Marise Headdress

Bonnie Clincher Red Elk

In Montana newspaper news, two items today.

The Native American Journalists Association is reporting the death of Bonnie Clincher Red Elk, whom the association hailed as “a true champion for freedom of the press in Indian Country.”

She sounded like a courageous, remarkable woman. The NAJA said she founded the Fort Peck Journal in 2006, after the then-tribal chairman removed her as editor of the official newspaper of the Fort Peck Tribes.

Last year, the association presented her with its Wassaja Award, “given in recognition of journalists’ and publications’ dedication to continuing to report the news in the face of challenge and even threat.”

Meanwhile, Don Pogreba, at his Intelligent Discontent blog, took a well-aimed shot at the job description posted by Lee Newspapers of Montana. This is one of the jobs created after the an-offer-you-can’t-possibly-accept ouster of Lee state bureau reporters Mike Dennison and Chuck Johnson. As Pogreba pointed out, the second job description, for a reporter with “data/investigative emphasis,” was just as bad.

These job descriptions have been much derided, mostly by journalists and former journalists, over the past week, and Pogreba does a good job of explaining why. Here’s my favorite part:

“For the life of me, I can’t understand the Lee fascination with digital tools. You can pay a relatively low-paid employee to manage to online presence, but the thing that drives readership of newspapers is news coverage. Remember the IR’s bizarre experiment with narrating news stories with shaky video? Does anyone go to a Montana newspaper for lazy, half-baked slideshows?”

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