Three Forks Voice - Connect With Your Community!

By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

COLUMN: Unsteady Work


January 15, 2020

It's always an exciting yet scary time when moving to a new community and this certainly was the case when I lived in Washington a few years ago.

Normally when I had moved in the past, I had a job at a newspaper lined up, but this time was different, and I was very much in need of a job and in need of one quickly.

I applied at a huge daily newspaper and while I did make it to the interview process, I did not land the gig. I wasn't discouraged and kept applying everywhere I could and a few weeks later found what I thought would be an amazing opportunity.

The job was an editor position at a weekly newspaper that covered five communities and it was very similar to what I had done in the past. Through email and a phone conversation with the owner, I was 100 percent sure I had the job or at least that's what I thought. We had great conversations about working for papers in Wyoming where he was also from and his tone really seemed to indicate I would be starting soon with my new job and he actually told me I was the right fit.

And out of nowhere the communication from his side stopped. I didn't know what was going on, but I figured this wasn't good and I would not be getting the job. When I finally got a hold of him around a week later, he told me to come in for an interview. I was once again excited and figured this would just be a formality. I could not have been any more wrong. When I showed up to the office he wasn't even there. I met with the lead of sales for the newspaper group who informed me they had hired somebody else for the position but wanted to see if I would be interested in slinging some ads. I was shocked, pissed off, and a little bit sad. I also needed to generate some income, so I swallowed my pride and took a position.

I did the best I could at a job that can be really difficult and in time would meet the person who was hired for the editor job. I found out she had once owned a newspaper and I quickly realized she had applied at the last minute and there was no way I could have competed with that type of experience.

I actually ended up doing the sports coverage for the paper along with sales and it wasn't too bad of a gig even though it was only about 25 hours a week and not near enough money.

Eventually, the person hired for the editor job was fired because she was not doing a good job and not producing any content but by this time, I was already doing something else.

They would go through another person before one day the owner called me and pleaded with me to take the job.

It was a tough decision because I wasn't really happy with the way things went the first time around, but I knew I would love the job and took it in a heartbeat.

It instantly was so much fun to be so busy covering all the communities, building papers, taking photos and also running a monthly business publication. At least it was fun for about a month.

One day I was having an extremely good day and walked into work and the owner said he was shutting down the publication. What a punch to the gut. This guy really had a way of making my day.


A few weeks later he called and said he had a buyer and needed to get a publication out ASAP. I worked through the night to get a paper put together. Moments after I finished, he said the deal fell through. I wrote about 10 stories and built 20 pages for a paper that never saw the light of day.

Behind the scenes he would eventually sell the paper and the new owner offered me a job with his company. I just wanted to keep doing what I was doing so I took the job only to realize it would be a few months before everything was settled with the deal and I would be nothing more than his personal gopher.

We eventually started publishing but at this time I was a little fed up with this newspaper.

I don't think anyone could blame me that I took a job back in my hometown where I knew they wouldn't pull from me the day I arrived.


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