I have wonderful news for you! After getting a generous donation from a corporate billionaire, I started a new non-profit organization called "Write for America." We, at Write For America, know how difficult it can be to get journalists to go into the "bad" areas of town to cover the news that nobody wants to hear about. Solution: Our naive recruits will now do that! It is okay if they mess up, because the poor people don't care, right?
Write For America recruits fresh graduates with law and business degrees (that never considered being journalists until we told them they could get their college loans paid off through our WFA program in as little as 2 years). We will train them for 5 weeks in the summer, require them to actually write with a mentor for 8 hours, and “poof,” they will magically be prepared to write and publish for your newspaper! You will pay them the same salary and benefits as your journalists, of course, and you cannot fire them. Oh, but first you'll need to sign a little contract with WFA for a mere $1 million agreeing that you will put these journalists on your staff and, of course, print their work even if they don't know what they are doing, and even if you already have an excess/surplus of qualified, award-winning journalists. (Note: The contract and fee should be no problem, since one of our appointed politicians by the Governor used to work for us at Write For America. He will be happy to sign the check since it comes from the tax payers, benefits his wealthy golfing buddies, and it doesn’t affect his own pocketbook or family.)
These journalists will be "INNOVATIVE" and "YOUNG." They will demand "ACCOUNTABILITY," "DATA-DRIVEN RESULTS," and will "FOCUS INTENSELY ON DATA" and other various key words that people love to see in print to convince them everything is peachy-keen.
Your current journalists will look greedy and evil for wanting a fair paycheck for their work. Some will quit, or you can "excess" them (you won't have to pay them severance that way), and we will replace them with our temporary WFA recruits. Believe me, you'll save a bunch of money not having to pay their increasing salaries, benefits, etc. not to mention having to listen to their whining about having too heavy of a workload, the crippling effects of poverty, needing support staff to be effective, blah-blah-blah. As a result, their Union will have no power to negotiate for their welfare. (Note: Our wealthy donor detests Unions, and now that he can’t golf any more due to his bad tennis elbow, dismantling Unions has become his hobby of sorts. Without Unions to haggle with, he doesn't have to pay employees as much money, which means more money in the bank. That is better than a record golf score any day!).
The best part of this program, and I'm sure you'll agree, is that after these recruits work 2 or 3 years as journalists, they will be qualified to be Editors (just like you!), District Managers, Charter Paper Operators, or even be appointed to political offices to make decisions about the publishing industry! What a fantastic program for these recruits, wouldn't you agree?
Please contact me on my yacht in the Bahamas to work out the details with my Assistants, Media Relations Department, Social Media Department, Professional Lobbyists, and my team of Lawyers to cover my rear-end in case we get sued for using tax money so corruptly.
I am sure you will agree that "Write For America" is "Right" for America... right???
A Momma Bear
ps - In case you can't tell, WFA is a parody of Teach For America, which your editors gushed over and praised in today's column. I don’t own a yacht; I drive a minivan. I'm a middle-class Momma Bear who is upset over how our public schools are being destroyed by corporate executives, including and especially by those that own and operate the news publications in Memphis.
At least please answer me this question: Would you honestly allow your own child to be a guinea pig in the classroom of a Teach For America recruit for an entire year? Or would you want a level 3, 4, or 5 teacher who knows how to teach (and is unfortunately now without a job due to this school merger)? I thought so.
By Frank Murtaugh
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