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Two interview questions

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by NQLBLQ, Oct 8, 2008.


    NQLBLQ Member

    I've got a scenario and a question for everyone here. I'd like to know how people on each side of the desk feel about this one.

    I was called in for an interview and asked two questions:

    1. Come up with two story ideas about the Podunk High football team.
    2. Come up with ideas about how to use that crazy inter-web-thingy to create revenue.

    As a recent grad, I'm full of ideas, but I'm skittish to share my ideas because I fear that I probably won't be hired and those ideas will be turned around and used for the papers benefit. The “come up with two story ideas” is easy enough but it always feels like the people interviewing me are out of ideas and scavenging for new ones. The internet is one that I don't want to let out of the bag – my ideas aren't free.

    I ended up explaining two football stories and letting them know that I have a few ideas for the internet and revenue, but I'd rather not elaborate.

    I have read up on other threads but only found a handful of responses. Where do I draw the line? Where have other people drawn that line? I know I don't harbor any groundbreaking ideas but I'd hate to give a newspaper, which might not hire me, something for free.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Wonderlic

    Wonderlic Member

    You know, for people in the "information business," many suits don't seem to realize that information is valuable and you might not want to give it away for nothing. After all, every day newspapers virtually give away for free on the Web what they're selling in print.

    Maybe this interviewer isn't looking to shake you down for ideas. Maybe they're just too stupid to realize that information is a commodity and this is their best attempt to make sure you can think for yourself.

    I'm just trying to give them the benefit of the doubt ... sort of. :p
  3. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Tell them that if you knew how to "create revenue" online, you wouldn't be interviewing with them. You'd be a consultant for the entire industry and pulling down major coin. (Hopefully that will get a chuckle and a knowing nod. If it gets a blank stare, you might be in trouble.) How to "create content", however, is a more fair question and you should have a few answers, just like the story ideas. Two or three is enough. We've seen much worse things here, employers asking for 10 story ideas and the like. That's shady.
  4. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    And we have a winner. End of thread.
  5. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    It's not a writer's job to come up with ideas to make money. A reporter's job is to provide content. Now you can talk up your video or photo skills, but don't get suckered into providing advice when newspapers spend tens of thousands on consultants.

    NQLBLQ Member

    That's basically how I feel about this whole site.
  7. nmmetsfan

    nmmetsfan Active Member

    I have job interviews every week. It's the only way I come up with story ideas.
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I'd tell them that you'll google both questions and get right back to them.

    Seriously, I think it's fair for them to ask for story ideas on Podunk High. You want to hire someone who can come up with ideas without them being handed to them.

    On the other, I would look at other websites and say, "I like what so-and-so does with high school sports, blah, blah, blah."

    Maybe it's videos, photos, contests, web chats, whatever. I would just throw out some cool things that are out there and not come up with revenue producing ideas, which is not your job.

    Though I would stress that a strong high school sites should be able to attract advertisers.
  9. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    If your ideas are that good, they'll hire you.
  10. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    "I've got an idea that will make the company millions, but you'll have to hire me first!"
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