April 2005 update - see page 8
Jan 2, 2000, I get an e-mail from someone who's starting up an online news publication, and he wants me to write for it. Cool, I think; I'm always happy when my website gets me work. The letter goes like this:
I'm contacting you on behalf of, Internet Sourceline, an on-line news & media publication. We are relatively new, or as it is commonly referred to as, a "dot com start-up."
With an initial opening of February 1st, we are currently scouting writers for possible employment. With that said, after your work was suggested, I personally reviewed it, and I honestly liked what I saw.
Just to give you a brief overview of ISL, we have a wonderful production staff so far, and as I stated we are indeed a news & media publication. We will be utilizing the characteristics of the slogan "News with an attitude!" Which is what we plan to do, give fact based news, with opinionated views that have a very strong point to them. We don't plan to beat around bushes like many other news sites out there. Direct news, with direct opinions, and "dissections." We also plan to offer audio/video broadcast with various different shows, as well as updates throughout the day. This is just a brief overview of things that will take place at ISL. There is much more, and exciting features that we plan to offer.
As I stated, we are currently looking for writers whom are willing for a new switch in environments, and who are interested in either their first big start, or to add another publication to their resume. If you seem interested in the offer, please feel free to contact me at your convenience to discuss things. As I do look forward to working with you, I hope you consider our offer as we see you as a fantastic additional to ISL.
Have a safe and happy New Year.
Nice. But, while I dig the concept of my website getting work for me, it seems to go wrong more often than not. (See the ThoughtPort story when I finally write it up.) And the warning signs are certainly there. For one, "News with an Attitude" isn't very original for a publication trying to sell its originality. Also, follow-up conversations are somewhat troubling, in part for their vagueness (can't get a really clear statement of what exactly I am expected to do--write, sure, but write what? Tech news? Dairy industry outlook? Tips for removing pine tar?), and in part for the apparent limited knowledge of English usage and punctuation on the part of the people running the show.
But fine, I think; the people in charge don't necessarily need to write well, and I know I'm overly touchy about this sort of thing. As long as the final product is professional, that's what matters. I tell them, sure, I'm on board, knowing that saying this doesn't cost me anything and doesn't really obligate me in any way.
Next: If This Was The Warning Sign, Here Comes The Warning Sledgehammer