A 113-year-old newspaper in rural Vale, Oregon called The Malheur Enterprise is up for sale. Specifically, its owners are looking to sell it not to a corporation or chain but to the private citizen who writes the most beguiling personal essay about why they deserve it. According to Poynter, top candidates will then sign a nondisclosure agreement to receive information about the price of the paper.
Taking on ownership of the paper will come at a considerable financial burden, but it’ll be worth it. First of all, it’s prestige. The Enterprise has “won awards for its work and has partnered with organizations like ProPublica and the Solutions Journalism Network.” Most important: no big business means better content. “A news outfit like this will better serve the community with owners and operators who are focused only on their community and not trying to contribute to a larger corporate mission,” Les Zaitz, one of the paper’s owners said.
I have no corporate ambitions, and I am a writer — with an MFA. I also have $65 CASH burning a hole in my pocket after taking $100 out to get a gel manicure the other day. I am by all counts a strong candidate. Here is my essay.
To Whom It May Concern:
Vincent Bugliosi. Nancy Jo Sales. Stephen Glass. Just Jared Jr. Jeffrey Toobin. Rory Gilmore. Harvey Levin. Claire Carusillo. These are all iconoclast journalists who have stuck the proverbial middle finger up to the corporate fat cats in their carpeted corner offices at traditional media outlets, blazing their own trails without any dirty money lining their pockets.
As evidenced in my work at Gawker and various skincare blogs across the net, I stand up for truth. For justice. For the “little guy.” Rarely does the editorial staff approve of my ideas. I’ve won no prizes, but I don’t need any recognition from the establishment. Why would I need a sappy little round of applause and recognition from my peers when I have my work, my dogged pursuit of the truth, and a handful of freaks in my DMs per month?
When it comes to money, however, I am lousy with it. That is, I have a lot of it. It was all ethically procured, of course. I can afford the newspaper, is what I’m saying, without any evil backing. I don’t support corporations. I only drink RC Cola and occasionally, aloe water. My clothes were all made in the USA, and most of them were shoplifted.
I’d love to close out this essay with a quotation:
“If journalism is good, it is controversial by its nature.”
Please note that I turned this in February 1, a whole month before the deadline, which should count for a lot.
Claire Elizabeth George Washington Carver Carusillo