Contents: I WRITER; II PHOTOGRAPHER
Saugerties Times is looking for someone—maybe a few people—to cover town government, the schools & development. In other words, the news. Some people think that means politics, but that’s only a small part of it. This beat is about exploring issues that matter to people in the community, and explaining them in a way that helps people understand. You don’t need journalism experience. All you really need is a curious mind. We’re looking for people who live in Saugerties and have a primary source of income (this is only one or two articles per week). We have several young contributors, and have helped many more launch their careers, but we’re looking for someone with more stability for this position—someone who’s been here a little while; maybe someone who used to write but doesn’t get the chance anymore.
Writing news articles is a fantastic intellectual and creative challenge. You visit new places, talk to people, sort out evidence and inference, and produce something that informs and delights the community. And it’s not all by the book—we allow plenty of room for creative approaches. If you’re interested, or know someone who might be, email editor Will Dendis at [email protected].
Common question- why do we specify applicants reside in Saugerties?
- Understanding– People who live in the community are more likely to know the context for community news. If you have to go only by what local officials tell you, you’re only going to get part of the story, or you’re going to get a story that’s correct in fact but naive in presentation.
- Osmosis– People who live in a community spend their time there, and they see and hear new things. When we decide what to write about each week, a fair amount comes from this basic awareness. News stories come from a few basic sources- official gov’t action, standard followup/reaction/preview of official action, ideas from the editor, ideas from the writer. The first three take care of themselves, and the last one is essential.
- Convenience- News stories need to show how the news affects residents. That means reaching out to people in the community. If you live here, you’ll know more people who might be affected by a new law. If you don’t know someone, it’s much easier to find someone if you live here. We haven’t had much luck getting these kinds of stories from writers who have to commute into Saugerties to look around. Really, there’s no way our per-article compensation can fund exploratory efforts like this. People who live in Saugerties are essentially doing this naturally. (Also, there is the commute- even if you’re just 30 minutes away, that’s an hour roundtrip. That time adds up. If I need something small covered, it’s much easier to ask someone to go around the corner [if they’re available] and talk to someone and grab a photo for the brief-rate than to drive into town for it.)
- Reference points– Saugertiesians tend to hold it against you if you’re writing about the community and don’t live here. They assume you understand basic local references and some might get a little peeved if you have to ask obvious questions. (Like what is HITS, or where is Glasco, etc.) Is that fair? No. Can you write a great story without living in Saugerties? Of course. But as we no longer have an office in town, and the reporter we’re losing was a Saugerties village resident who grew to be fairly well known, I think it’s important that we not become a paper with a lot of non-residents doing the writing. It’s just not a recipe for a good hyperlocal paper.
Saugerties Times is looking for a few good local photographers. It’s not a position as such, as we generally only budget 1-3 photo-only assignments per week, distributed among several existing pro photographers. But we need a few more in our rolodex, or at least one more local individual , depending on availability. We are flexible. Pay per assignment varies from $25 to $100.
The ideal candidate should be a Saugerties resident, largely for economic reasons- we sometimes just need one or two photos, and at that price point, driving in and out of town, plus processing… in the past photographers have found it wasn’t worth their time. Also, those who live in Saugerties are much more likely to happen upon interesting scenes that could work as standalone photos.
Working with Saugerties Times is a great way to be creative and get to know the community better. You’ll see parts of Saugerties you never would have otherwise. And there is definitely an element of instant gratification in seeing the photographs appear in print quickly. (Yeah, the web is faster, but it’s not the same as seeing your work on the front page of a paper that’s all over town a few days later.) I (Will Dendis, the editor) do some photography myself , maintain the company’s tumblr and I also do the layout for the paper, so I take an active interest in finding good visuals. Photographers are encouraged to be creative in feature assignments and photo spreads (which can include obvious stuff like festival photos as well as photographer-led concepts like a portrait series, ruins, children at play, anything local that can be united with a theme). We give photos a lot of space because we think they can be just as important as the news articles.
If you’re interested, send some sample photos (containing humans) and a paragraph or two about yourself to editor Will Dendis at [email protected]