A look at a member of the State Media

A former reporter, editor and columnist of the Kansas City Star wrote this letter to a firm “sort of” applying for a PR position. This person is a well-known liberal, a bastion of liberal Kansas City politics. He was laid off from the KC Star some time ago but still writes a column for the Star on a free-lance basis.

Read and understand the mentality of the members of the dem’s State Media.

Here is the job description as posted.

Public Relations Specialist – (Firm Name)
(Identifying information about Firm), is looking for a bright, motivated individual to serve as its public relations specialist. Duties include but are not limited to writing news releases, pitches and other pieces …

(Description of normal PR duties snipped for space.)

Pretty much what you’d expect for an entry-level PR position. I’m going to delete the writer’s name. You can discover it with a little work.

From: (Name Removed)
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009
To: (Contact person)
Subject: job posting


Saw your posting on the (Web site).

As a journalist for 30 plus years and a newspaper columnist the past 12 at The Kansas City Star, I am eminently qualified to be your public relations specialist — despite no paid experience in public relations.

Frankly, if there’s a pr person above the pr specialist, I’m probably qualified for that job, too.

After all, I’ve been dealing with public relations folks from the other side for three decades as a reporter, editor and columnist. Don’t get me wrong. Many PR people are skilled at what they do. Yet many others are simply nice but don’t have a clue how to sell a story.

The former are usually former newspaper journalists. The latter are not.

That said, I would be happy to submit an application, but I’d hate to be wasting your time and mine if it turns out this is some minor league position with a paltry salary.

Yes, I’m not supposed to mention money. But we’re both adults and recognize that, in the end, that’s what it comes down to. I still write a column at The Star. I make a decent salary. I’m not looking for a pay cut.

I could submit my resume, but doing so would imply that this is my job pitch. It’s not.

The job sounds enjoyable. But I’d also like to know that it’s a good fit.

Thanks for your time.

(Name removed)
Metro columnist
The Kansas City Star

PS. By the way, my wife and I (identifying info) haved great interest in many of the topics in your publications, (identifying information).. Our book on (identifying information) in KC will be published in September by the Kansas City Star book division. (Italics mine.)

Well, this didn’t go over too well. The company sent this response to the letter above.

From: (Contact)
Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009
To: (Name Removed)
Subject: RE: job posting

Hi, –

Thank you for your interest in the PR specialist position at (Firm). However, based on your e-mail below, I don’t think you would be a good match for the position at this time. While I appreciate your strong experience in the newspaper industry, public relations goes much deeper than simply pitching journalists.

Our pay may be equivalent to the minor leagues, but I can assure you that we are major-league caliber in every other way. And, by the way, I *am* the person above the PR specialist.

Best of luck on promoting your book and other future endeavors.

Best regards,


Rather than take the exchange above as a learning experience, the former KC Star reports responded with another letter.

From: (Name Removed)
Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009
To: (Contact)

Subject: RE: job posting

So you’re saying that I didn’t sell you with my sweet talk?
You’re right. I probably wouldn’t be a good match for the position. I’m much better as a writer/editor.

As you can tell, I’m new to this whole job search thing, having not been on the lookout for a new position since Reagan’s first term. Wouldn’t be now if the newspaper industry wasn’t in free fall.

Not that I’m wholly unpolished when it comes to sending out job letters. In recent months, I’ve sent out some rather upbeat sales pitches to potential employers. Even got a phone interview that seemed to go well.

I think my salary expectations did me in on that one.

Just for the sheer heck of it, I decided to try a different tact with you.

Didn’t work all that well, but it felt good to drop the phoniness (mine). I guess I’d much rather be writing/editing for one of your publications than promoting other people’s work.

Sorry if w, you misconstrued my point about “minor-league” position. I didn’t mean the company. I meant the position itself. Many public relations “specialist” positions I’ve seen advertised seem meant for relatively young, inexperienced folks with lots of energy but not all that much savvy.

Sorry. That’s me being honest again.

Good luck in your future endeavors, too. But here’s some advice for the person who does get the position. While pitching stories to reporters might not be all there is to the job, he or she had better be good at just that if they hope to get your brand the kind of ink or webspace it deserves.


(Name Removed)

I’m reminded of a saying, originating after the Katrina cleanup. “Stuck on stupid.”
If you want to read the entire column, go here. It makes for interesting reading.

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