Narco News Seeks Webmaster
“A Better Thing Never Happened to Me” says David B. Briones, Moving On After Four Years at the Tech Helm
By Al Giordano
Publisher, Narco News
September 1, 2010
In our ten-plus years of reporting from all América, Narco News has had only three webmasters.
I was the first (and a pretty mediocre one, at that). In 2002, Dan Feder came in and brought this online newspaper into the twenty-first century. Four years later, in 2006, Dan moved up to be this newspaper’s managing editor and David B. Briones has captained the tech ship ever since, with a strong assist from Chris Fee.
The job is intense! As Dave recounts in his accompanying essay, he was only a week on the job when citizens of Oaxaca, Mexico, successfully protected their university radio station from a massive police invasion and the Indymedia journalist Brad Will was assassinated there. Those are the moments when a Narco News webmaster doesn’t sleep because there is so much work to be done bringing our reporters’ words and eyewitness testimony to you.
The pay is subsistence level. The webmaster has to speak English and Spanish or be ready for a crash course in whichever he or she doesn’t yet know. You’re on call 24 hours a day (as the chief here, I’m not shy about waking folks up in the middle of the night or at dawn if there is news breaking). And with Narco News TV about to be born, the job just got a lot busier.
Dave has written up the job description here, to which I’ll add a few thoughts.
1. Like every other online news organization out there, we get plenty of “free advice” about how we must redesign or upgrade our website. I always respond the same way: “Great. Send me a draft design.” And nobody ever does. But if as part of your application letter you would like to submit a draft redesign of Narco News, or any part of it, here’s your chance to do so and maybe even be tapped to implement it.
2. Our next webmaster will have a multitude of tasks promoting the newspaper and its reports through social media (we were born before YouTube or Facebook or Twitter, and now these and future sites yet unknown will be driving so much of online traffic).
3. Strong design skills for making online graphics, banners, fundraising graphs and such would be a big plus in obtaining this job.
4. There is actually a lot of freedom to the gig. The news isn’t always happening, so there is time to stop and smell the roses, too. Living in Latin America, where the food is fresh and local every day of the year, the culture and subcultures are never boring, where rebellion and song and fiesta is always around the corner, and to where the most interesting colleagues from all over the world visit to work or study with our School of Authentic Journalism, this gig is so much better and healthier than typing away in an office cubicle every day. You get to work at home for the most part. And we help set you up with one. Yes, you’ll still have to have your cell phone with you at all times and be ready in an instant to jump into action and you’ll have to be online a lot. But if you’re thinking about a webmaster position you’re probably online a lot anyway and consider that to be fun, too.
5. As webmaster, you’re pretty much ensured entrance into our next School of Authentic Journalism, in 2011. Last year, many hundreds applied to attend but only 31 were admitted. Here’s a way to cut into the front of that coveted line!
Again, we can’t offer you the big bucks of an air conditioned cubicle in the Silicon Valley, but as Dave and Dan can attest, this job sets you up for life with a set of skills and experiences that are simply not available to most people. And both can attest that not once did the paycheck ever arrive late, in contrast to the ways a lot of “alternative” institutions abuse their workers. Not only that, but you’ll end up with lifelong friends in every corner of this hemisphere and many on the other side of the world who always want you to come visit their lands and homes.
The best thing about this gig is you’ll be making a real difference for struggles you believe in, for authentic democracy, human rights, justice and freedom… and be part of the Authentic Journalism renaissance at the very hour when the commercial newspaper and media industries are tumbling down.
There is no application form for this job. We simply invite you to write an email – in English or Spanish – to email@example.com by September 30 (we may find someone sooner, so don’t wait until the last minute) telling us about yourself, the online skills you bring with you, and why you’re the person we seek to fulfill the job description. If there are skills on our job description you don’t yet have, be honest; we’re aware that some will probably have to be taught and learned on the job. Most importantly, tell us why you want the job, and why you want to join the Narco News team. And feel free to ask any questions you have for us.
The only two full time webmasters we’ve had each lasted for four years despite the mediocre pay. There is not a college or university on earth that offers the education and experience of being the Narco News webmaster, not to mention the regular thrill of it all. So if you think it’s for you, don’t be shy. Come and get it.
Lea Ud. el Artículo en Español
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