The All-Star Break is an excellent time for evaluation, refinement, tinkering, and determining which doodad needs to be tightened into which whatsit. Overall I’m fairly proud of the state of Lookout Landing, its staff, and the way in which we cover the team. However, the goal is always to improve. More content, better content, new perspectives, new ideas, and so on.
Writing for a site like Lookout is an incredibly rewarding experience, by and large due to its fantastic audience. All of you who read and comment every day make the daily grind of scheduling, research, writing, editing, collaborating, watching the stupid Mariners, etc. worth it. It can also wear you down after awhile, and staff turnover is inevitable in something like this.
Preamble aside we are looking for 2-3 qualified, passionate, writers to come in and join the staff for the second half of the year, and hopefully beyond. Do you have questions? I bet you do. Let’s see if I can answer some straight away.
What do you want me to write about?
I believe in encouraging writers to pursue the stories and angles that they themselves find interesting. More passion typically equals better quality content. However, this umbrella is also very large, and vaguely defined. To put it more tangibly:
- One (or more) writer capable of writing approximately 500-700 word features, generally focusing on the analysis of current happenings with the team, 2-3 times per week. This is a significant time commitment, and as such I will be putting whomever comes on staff on a 30-day trial period to make sure the work load is feasible. I do not want to grind people into dust.
- A recapper for two games a week. Lookout Landing recaps are arguably the single most iconic feature we have on the site. The creativity needed to write in an entertaining, often humorous fashion, often very late at night, on a deadline, requires a very specific skill set. For a better idea of how it works, I’ve asked LL Czar of Recaps Matt Ellis to say a few words:
"Recaps were always my favorite part of LL before I joined, and now that I've been churning them out for however many number of years, they are still my favorite way of connecting to the team across a season, regardless of who is writing them. That said, I never knew how hard it was to write one until I actually started.
The genre of 'LL Recap' existed long before any of us got here, and will hopefully exist long after we all leave. In the process, it has been mutated and transformed by multiple writers with different styles and voices. But underneath all of that idealistic bravado is the simple reality of what you will be facing in this role: it's Tuesday night at 11:30pm and the Mariners just got one-hit by, I don't know, Eric Bedard or something. They've been out of the playoffs for two months, lost 5 of their last 7, and you've exhausted yourself of every last interesting thing to possibly say about this stupid baseball team that people still want to hear about for some reason. Then you start writing again. That the Mariners may not be this bad anymore matters little for the role of a recapper at LL: you should always be ready for the worst of the worst. And then feel like you still have something to say.
The point of this isn't to say that the Mariners will be bad and we should wallow in it (although to be honest I might only meet you halfway there). The point is that your inspiration cannot always come from winning, things going right, or having fun. Otherwise you will be screwed. This genre has been sculpted by years of abysmal baseball, giving birth to experiments in narrative, GIFs for storytelling, photoshop masterpieces (or atrocities), or even just interesting storytelling. But it also has attempted to do all that in balance with simply retelling the events of a baseball game, hopefully balancing rhetorical flourish with the fact that our readers want to read about baseball. The pendulum shouldn't swing too far one way or the other. You can't paint a Rembrandt every night and sometimes you'd rather do anything else. If that still sounds like fun, then we'd love to talk."
You’re talking time commitment, what about hooking me up with some sweet, sweet cash?
Oh my sweet, Summer Child. Here are the income levels of internet writing:
Nothing (you)>>Almost nothing (me)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Opulence, I has it (Bill Simmons)
There are some people on staff who, after an extended period of time, receive small compensation monthly. When I say small I'm talking, like, beer money, and not beer at Safeco money. Beer at home, alone, with the lights off, and it's so quiet, money. I wish everyone that wrote for us received a salary and health benefits, but this is the reality. If your priority or need is to be fairly compensated for your time, this is just not the opportunity for you. I am sorry.
So you want my time for free. Why should I give it to you?
Because, as I said, it's very rewarding. The thrill of seeing your name on the byline, the small little perks of (very) minor internet celebrity, a chance to collaborate with a great staff that brings a wealth of diverse knowledge and experience, a commentariat on the internet actually (largely) worth your time, etc. Lookout is a very special place, despite (or maybe because of) the Mariners being the Mariners for so long. If you're reading this, I imagine you already understand. There's nowhere else like here. Even when we fight, squabble, argue, screw up, and/or generally drop the ball there is a very, very strong sense of community. It's something very rare for the internet, and even more rare for a team specific sports site. We are fortunate.
Ok fine, I offer myself as Tribute. Where do I apply?
Send us an email at LookoutLanding2.firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll do our very best to get back to each of you promptly. Please be prepared to cite any previous sportswriting experience and/or provide examples of any past work for us to look at.
Do I have to be a Mariner fan?
I get this question a lot. Well, I mean, yes? I get that LL is a fairly large platform and some people just want to use it as a springboard or a resume padder. That makes sense. LL can and has launched numerous careers. However, I'm not interested in writers looking to parachute in and write about the team (however competently) who don't have a history with the team, let alone the site.
Uh, wait, you're still here? Class is over, I'm off the clock. Go away and quit bugging me, I'm not giving you extra credit for kissing ass.
(Feel free to leave questions in the comments, or to email. Thanks so much, we truly appreciate all of you sticking with us for another half season of baseball. Goms.)