Accidental Wording Is Removed From Job Posting

Mar 16, 2017

By Tom Burton

The job opening posted this week for a multimedia photojournalist at the Atlanta Journal Constitution is a rare opportunity for both the newspaper and the individual who will be hired. There aren’t many staff openings these days and the paper hasn’t been able to hire a photographer in many years.

Three overlooked words in the job description almost scuttled the credibility of the posting. In one of the listed job tasks, it said applicants needed enough expertise with photo editing software to digitally enhance images by “moving objects around.”

Sandra Brown, the senior editor for planning and visuals at the AJC, first heard of the problem on Thursday morning. She called the corporate recruiter in charge of the posting and told them the wording had to be removed immediately because it was an ethics issue.

“You need the ability to tone your photograph, but not to change content at all,” Brown said.

The job posting went up either late Friday or early Monday and Brown began receiving applications by Tuesday. Scattered social media posts pointing out the odd wording began appearing by midweek.

The job description was written off of a legacy document that had outdated and inaccurate information, Brown said. A lot of it was rewritten, but that phrase was missed. It appeared to have been a clumsy explanation for Photoshop experience from someone who hadn't worked with that software in a newsroom.

Brown said her staff is very experienced and that she moved quickly to correct the error to protect their reputation.

“I wouldn’t want anything to poorly reflect on them, or this team, or this paper,” Brown said.

The multimedia photojournalist position will add to the AJC staff of four photographers. The new position will work primarily as a still photographer but will have significant video assignments. The job listing had 19 job duties and 14 requirements, something that’s not unusual for the new multimedia journalist jobs. Brown said that despite the wider range of skills needed, she is still looking for someone who has a strong foundation in photojournalism.

“Make sure you have someone who can adapt to these changes but are always excellent in their skills first,” Brown advises any other manager looking to fill this kind of position. “You aren’t forgoing the basics because you are looking for some who had more video experience.”

Despite the hiccup with the job posting, Brown is eager to review the applicants. She is also looking for a videographer to fill a second multimedia photojournalist slot. She feels Atlanta is a good news town and that the AJC jobs will offer great opportunities for the eventual hires. She is also excited to do something that is rare these days and be able to add staff positions.