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Jul 19 2012

Are you an English major looking for work?

I know, you all are. But here’s a job opportunity for a godless, well organized editor.

Atheist Alliance International (AAI, atheistalliance.org) will be launching a new magazine in 2013 and we are looking for an Editor to plan and implement a fresh layout and format! AAI has gone through many changes in the last year or so – including its re-launch as a genuinely global organisation in 2011 and the adoption of new branding earlier this year. Now we are contemplating another major change and we want to find the right person to work with us to restructure and re-launch AAI’s flagship magazine.

This is a contract, self-managed position that involves securing content for each issue, cover design and management of advertising and production.

Secular World magazine is currently published quarterly and available to AAI Members only, but AAI would like to consider broadening publication options to a range of electronic media. Based on quarterly publication the Editor will be paid US$1,250 per issue plus a share of any advertising revenue secured by the Editor and a share of external sales revenue. AAI is willing to discuss the elements of the payment package with applicants.

53 comments

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  1. 1
    marcus

    IANAEM, but I did play an English lieutenant in our college production of “The Pirates of Penzance”.

  2. 2
    Gaebolga

    Holy crap.

    Before I went back to school, got my graduate degrees, and started teaching composition, I worked as an editor for a fairly wide variety of publications.

    For about a decade.

    Twenty years ago.

    And even back then, I would have laughed my ass off at such a pathetic level of compensation for the job they’re describing. And bear in mind, my undergrad degree was in English, a field well-known for its lack of financial rewards. All I can say is that the ad sales had better be fucking huge, because the job they’re describing ought to pay at least double.

    At least.

    Fifteen years ago, I was making ~ $2500/month as a managing editor for an established monthly trade magazine, with duties pretty much as described here. Plus I was getting health insurance and 401K matching. (No ad revenue sharing though…I’d have been able to retire long ago if I’d gotten that kind of deal from Miller Freeman.)

    This is sad.

  3. 3
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    So they’re not pullnig the Christian “the experience will be your salary”? But that means they weill actually get competent applicants.

  4. 4
    madscientist

    It sounds to me like they’re looking for a Layout Editor or Layout Artist – or do they mean they want a new Editor to oversee that?

  5. 5
    Gaebolga

    @ madscientist (#4)

    Well, the “cover design” part would be part of the layout editor’s job, but the rest of it – securing content for each issue, management of advertising, and management of production – are all managing editor tasks.

    Especially since “securing content” could easily be read to include issue planning.

  6. 6
    Glen Davidson

    I want fries with that…

    Glen Davidson

  7. 7
    Jasper of Maine

    I only work for SpiritualBucks

  8. 8
    Gaebolga

    Are they based in Seattle?

  9. 9
    Randomfactor

    I have the background, but no amount of money would be enough to induce me to spell “organization” with an “s.”

  10. 10
    Captaintripps

    As Egon Spengler once said, print is dead.

  11. 11
    docsarvis

    Gaebolga said, “Fifteen years ago, I was making ~ $2500/month as a managing editor for an established monthly trade magazine, with duties pretty much as described here. Plus I was getting health insurance and 401K matching.”

    In 1990 I turned the job as chief photographer at a small daily newspaper in Central Texas because they offered me a raise to $15,000 per year. Atheist Alliance is offering about the same pay (factoring the publishing frequency) for someone to function as editor, managing editor, ad director and graphic designer. I have 30 years publishing experience and am looking for a part-time job, but I will not apply for this one.

    Aside from the absurdly low pay, I have an overwhelming desire to not sell ads. Advertising and editorial are separate beasts, and combining the two is a slippery slope leading to conflict of interest. When I studied journalism in college they taught us to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Running a story about a company that advertises will look like a conflict of interest if the editor is also selling ads.

  12. 12
    todd bstevens

    This is of course, an almost insulting job post for anyone that has done real magazine work, but I am sure it will get many applicants.

    You know JZ, majoring in English is not a joke. We teach your chem, pre-med, bio, and physics students to write. I teach colllege writing I and II, adjunct. Many of my students are hard science types, and they often are rather incapable of communication outside their narrow field. I get paid shite, but I tell myself.

    The greatest advance in science is meaningless if nobody knows about it.

    We think often about putting a geologist on the moon. Maybe we should have launched a poet?

    Best,
    TBS

  13. 13
    madscientist

    @Gaebolga#5: Yeah, but I thought the blurb was poorly worded; you have to read the last sentence in the first paragraph before you get some sense that they do mean a managing editor. I still find the whole thing a bit strange – since circulation is limited to AAI (membership numbers not disclosed in the blurb) and remuneration is dependent largely on advertising revenue, it’ll be quite a challenge to find advertisers. Why should I advertise in a magazine with a small circulation, geographically dispersed members, and no clear common interest other than not believing in gods? Let’s say it took 2 weeks to actually get an issue out, plus at least another week for the other duties – the editor may die of starvation before the second issue is out.

  14. 14
    ChasCPeterson

    the adoption of new branding

    what kind of majors write stuff like that?

    todd bstevens, feel free to lighten up a little.

  15. 15
    PZ Myers

    Notice the “broadening distribution” bit? They’re trying to expand the role of the magazine.

  16. 16
    PZ Myers

    Also, “AAI is willing to discuss the elements of the payment package with applicants.”

  17. 17
    michaelbusch

    @todd bstevens:

    The pay advertised in the ad struck me as low too; based only on what I’ve been offered for writing short popular science pieces. The editor does a lot more work than each individual contributor, and so should get paid more.

    Being able to communicate science clearly and effectively is incredibly important, so thank you for teaching the students!

    Re. your last point:

    So few people have walked on the moon that not having a poet or an English major among them is pardonable. In fact, only one geologist has been on the moon – Harrison Schmitt. He was the last of the Apollo astronauts to step onto the lunar surface (his crewmate Eugene Cernan was the last one up the ladder as they left).

    There were many literary types during the Shuttle missions – Story Musgrave in particular comes to my mind, along with some of the educator astronauts. They just knew science and engineering as well as how to talk to people.

  18. 18
    docsarvis

    @ PZ

    I understand they are willing to negotiate compensation, but they are so far below what I would be willing to consider there is no use in wasting time discussing it. If they were offering $3500/issue, planned to hire an ad director and an art director, I’d apply for the job and negotiate the compensation package.

    Working as a contractor and paying my own bills I would not touch a project like this for less than $75/hr, and I would not sell ads.

  19. 19
    WhiteHatLurker

    Hopefully they didn’t specify “atheists only need apply” in the full ad, as hinted by PZ.

    The compensation seems low to me as well. It is especially low if this new editor will be responsible for broadening the format to electronic based media as well as the other tasks.

    Also, what #9 said. Again, especially if they’re sincere about the “genuinely global organization” bit.

  20. 20
    Usernames are smart

    Aside from the absurdly low pay, I have an overwhelming desire to not sell ads. Advertising and editorial are separate beasts, and combining the two is a slippery slope leading to conflict of interest. When I studied journalism in college they taught us to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Running a story about a company that advertises will look like a conflict of interest if the editor is also selling ads.—docsarvis #11

    Those days are dead and gone. At smaller newspapers, editors and reporters function as sales staff. During my tenure at (behemoth media corporation), I saw our smaller properties get smaller and smaller as they laid off staff and relied on fewer and fewer bodies to do the work.

    It was bad, let me tell you. The editors would sell ads by the “year” (they would do all their selling in Q4 for the next year) and then spend the rest of the next year trying to fill the gaps. One of the editors (or the “tech” writer) was in charge of the web, etc. This is no micky-mouse org (we’re talking billions per year), but the suits in corporate ran it that way. Finally, we convinced TPTB to let (our large property) manage their website and ad scheduling by documenting how much money they were leaving on the table.

    If I had the choice between being a a) reporter/editor or b) social worker, I’d take b) in a heartbeat. The pay is the same and at least with the letter you’d be making a difference.

    tl;dr Print is dead, so get over it already.

  21. 21
    michaelnam

    I’m a copy editor with some reporting background. I would gladly proof, correct, and re-write portions of the copy for them. I’ll even contribute stories for cents on the word! But managing the publication for such a small amount … what docsarvis said! It’s almost like they want someone’s Internet savvy nephew to take care of it.

  22. 22
    Kevin

    Freelance professional writer/editor here.

    No kidding, even if that’s merely the opening bid, it’s seriously messed up. Only someone independently wealthy could be able to afford to take on that position.

    You’re looking for a volunteer who will get a small stipend for doing something they’re emotionally invested in. It’s laughable to think a professional freelance publications manager would look at this seriously – even as a time filler between better paying gigs.

    Do the math and figure out the amount of hours that would have to be devoted to each task each issue. I’ll bet dollars to donuts you’ll come up with an hourly wage somewhere along the lines of pennies, not dollars.

    It’s not even slave wages.

    I’ll pass, thanks.

  23. 23
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Chas:

    what kind of majors write stuff like that?

    Marketing pukes majors.

  24. 24
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    As an addendum to what todd bstevens said, English majors can find work(*) doing various things outside academia, and some of those jobs provide a living wage.

    Admittedly, English majors will fare better with at least some tech knowledge under their belts, but the degree itself is not superfluous to such knowledge.

    (*) Presuming the economy isn’t utter shit the way it is now. Remember that not all STEM jobs are invulnerable to layoffs and offshoring.

  25. 25
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Low pay is a consequence of having a bad business model. In this case, investing a fresh effort into a dying business model and medium.

    If you want print, you had better be printing something damn well worth printing, something that doesn’t do as well electronically, or something of which people really want a permanent, professionally printed hardcopy.

    I submit that they don’t know what they are doing, and this is someone’s pet project. Advice: do a Kickstarter to see what kind of traction this thing would have. Read up at TechDirt and elsewhere, and build a print-customer fan base before launching this endeavour. CwF+RtB.

    Not trying to be mean or dismissive, just sounds like a bad idea all the way around. It’s time to think of a different way to do your cool project.

  26. 26
    docsarvis

    @Kevin

    I just whipped out my calculator. Assuming four weeks of work for each issue, that works out to $7.81 per hour.

    This organization is looking for someone with unique, advanced skills, and offering less than minimum wage.

    Good luck to them, especially considering they are asking someone to do the work of at least three people. Doing the math on that, the hourly rate works out to $2.60. Without benefits.

    I hope they at least have an accountant willing to do their accounts receivables.

  27. 27
    Usernames are smart

    I just whipped out my calculator. Assuming four weeks of work for each issue, that works out to $7.81 per hour.

    This organization is looking for someone with unique, advanced skills, and offering less than minimum wage.
    —docsarvis #26

    I don’t know what crommunist paradise you live in, but here in ‘merica, we pay our poors $7.25/hour and they’re damn happy to get it, or we’ll deport ‘em!!!11

  28. 28
    docsarvis

    You’re right. The minimum wage in the U.S. of A. is $7.25 per hour.

    Problem with this job offer is that calculation is based on a best-case scenario. Realistically, the wage will be less than $3/hr. I can make 3.5x that bagging groceries at the local grocery store.

  29. 29
    eriktrips

    I was hoping someone would say something about the insulting starting salary offer. Adjuncting at a public university pays better, which is its own sad ball of sadness. And shoot: the disability check I get every month is probably worth more, for whatever meager full-time job it is supposed to emulate.

  30. 30
    atheistallianceinternational

    Hi everyone

    We appreciate that (at least in the USA) there are atheist groups that can pay a (for want of a better word) “normal” wage, but unfortunately AAI is not in that position. AAI is a not-for-profit group run by volunteers and does not have the capacity to pay a full commercial rate (the magazine Editor is the only position paid at all by AAI). We realise that the Editor position involves a degree of “contributing your time for the cause of atheism” and, obviously, we hope we can find someone who is willing to do that. The note on the AAI website has been updated to reflect this point.

    Atheist Alliance International

  31. 31
    SnowyBiscuit

    A whole five thousand smackeroos a year? Oh, hold me back!!!

    The pay level is a joke given the job descriptio; and why is there no mention of health insurance?

  32. 32
    SnowyBiscuit

    Well, obviously I can’t edit my own posts, so it’s time for bed! Sorry about the typo above.

  33. 33
    KarenX

    There is no mention of health insurance because it is a contract position, not an employee position.

  34. 34
    todd bstevens

    @michaelbusch

    Schmitt is a hero of mine, the astronaut scientist. In all the Apollo program, test pilots. Other pilots :), he got his chance to walk on the moon. The program he made for the earlier crews in AZ (? New Mexico?) Was cruicial.

    I do know nobody is going to launch a poet just to see what happens. And yes, Story Musgrave has written some decent work.

    My eyes have some stars in them. I hope space eventually becomes something we all can experience. At present costs, we may not be launching many poets.

    Guys, there is a prediliction against lib arts majors with hard science folks. I agree it is easier to fake yourself into a degree in my field. But it is fake. I have a MFA in writing, while I haven’t found a boson, I teach good writing.

    I also wrote a 14 work sonnet sequence. Try to do that with an equation.

  35. 35
    DLC

    I have faith that they will find someone . . .

  36. 36
    richardelguru

    @Randomfactor
    ‘I have the background, but no amount of money would be enough to induce me to spell “organization” with an “s.”’

    Don’t be a zmuck, it’z a perfectly acceptable zpelling (outzide Oxford, of courze) and predominatez in Britain, and zome other other Englizh zpeaking nationz.

    It’z a good example of the etymological fallacy, etymologising from Greek -ιζειν

  37. 37
    richardelguru

    Sorry posted in excitement and error.
    Should have added:
    If that’s their house style then that’s what you do.
    Hell, I’m originally British and now live in the US and I even learned to do the ‘stupid date format’ instead of one of the logical ones!

  38. 38
    David Marjanović

    You know JZ, majoring in English is not a joke. We teach your chem, pre-med, bio, and physics students to write.

    You do? Where I come from, nobody teaches scientists how to write once they’ve graduated from highschool – unless their thesis supervisors give them useful hints.

    Story Musgrave

    *blink*

    That’s a particularly silly pseudonym, right?

    I have faith that they will find someone . . .

    Heh.

  39. 39
    David Marjanović

    It’z a good example of the etymological fallacy, etymologising from Greek -ιζειν

    Well, it’s via the French -iser.

  40. 40
    Alex

    I also wrote a 14 work sonnet sequence. Try to do that with an equation.

    a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g

    \int dx \times \int dy
    \phi_x e^{\pi i}
    \frac{d}{dt} + f_t \rho -\frac{d}{dt} f_0
    F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu}
    G_{\rho\tau}\delta Q
    uu' u'u
    \omega_n + f(2)

  41. 41
    Alex

    I’m missing the g-g…

  42. 42
    carlie

    Where I come from, nobody teaches scientists how to write once they’ve graduated from highschool –

    That’s because you learned to write well in high school. You wouldn’t believe the piles of garbage that college students here write, and it’s not confined to any one major. Students who can write well out of high school are the ones who are naturally good at it. Students who can write out of college are those plus the ones who actually paid attention in their college English classes. Then there’s the other 85%.

  43. 43
    richardelguru

    @David Marjanović
    “Well, it’s via the French -iser.”
    Yup I should have added that.

    it’s just like that ‘s’ viciously rammed up poor ‘iland’.

  44. 44
    Gaebolga

    @ carlie (#42)

    No lie there.

    One of the most profoundly depressing moments of my life came in my second year of grad school, when I was taking a graduate-level Irish Lit course filled with English, English Ed., and Creative Writing graduate students, and the professor decided that we should all share our midterm papers with the rest of the class.

    Of the 15 students in the class, less than half of them wrote papers that would have passed my undergraduate-level writing courses. It wasn’t even the analysis or structure of their papers that was the problem (or rather, the only problem); those papers were riddled with basic grammatical errors.

    Graduate-level English majors who can’t freakin’ write.

    Yee-haw.

  45. 45
    Ophelia Benson

    Yes, the pay is really bad, and the work…hard and not so fun. “management of advertising and production” – uh – that’s a big job all by itself.

  46. 46
    madscientist

    @Snowy#32 I suspect health insurance isn’t mentioned because most developed nations have national healthcare – sometimes people forget that everyone has to pay their own way in the USA.

  47. 47
    Jadehawk

    You wouldn’t believe the piles of garbage that college students here write

    yeeeah. I didn’t believe it either*, until I had to peer-review papers written for a “writing for the Social Sciences” class; a 300-level class (and that’s aside from the hilariousness I got as peer-review back from them :-p )

    *I intellectually knew this already, because my 101-level English class was online with 3 mandatory meetings with the prof to “discuss problems and difficulties with the assignments”**, which I spend mostly just chatting with the prof about whether there’s a way to express the concept of “Ubermensch” in English, and about how the writing taught to kids in US-High-Schools is formulaic shit. But I hadn’t actually seen the result of this until recently.

    **a class which too many students found too hard. The prof has a waaay too low score on RateMyProfessors because too many High-School-A-Students complained that he wouldn’t give them A’s

  48. 48
    Jadehawk

    You do? Where I come from, nobody teaches scientists how to write once they’ve graduated from highschool – unless their thesis supervisors give them useful hints.

    true. but I’ll admit that I didn’t learn how to properly cite shit until an American professor gave out a handout that summarized the rules for citations.

    I think I was supposed to have learned how to do this while writing my Facharbeit, but the prof for the class I was writing it in (English) was an idiot who didn’t give us any advice at all for how to write these papers. And then argued with native English speakers about English idioms *sigh*

  49. 49
    ChasCPeterson

    Graduate-level English majors who can’t freakin’ write.

    yes, that’s depressing.
    How do you get that far without loving to read?
    And if you read much, how do you not notice problems with your own writing?

  50. 50
    Jadehawk

    Chas,

    I’ve read many excellent books in Polish, and have been doing so all my life.

    I don’t know shit about Polish grammar and spelling. No amount of reading Polish literature will change the fact that I don’t know shit about Polish grammar and spelling. Reading alone doesn’t fix cluelessness about one’s own language.

  51. 51
    ChasCPeterson

    No amount of reading Polish literature will change the fact that I don’t know shit about Polish grammar and spelling.

    But at the very least* it ought to provide a template that makes your own attempted grammar and spelling seem wrong in comparison. No?

    *in the absence of dyslexia

  52. 52
    Jadehawk

    But at the very least* it ought to provide a template that makes your own attempted grammar and spelling seem wrong in comparison. No?

    only on “feeling”, which is a very weak basis on which to base the grammar of one’s own writing. If you don’t know the rules of the language, no amount of familiarity with writing is going to enable you to spot mistakes in your own writing. Without formal knowledge of grammar, one can either be one of those lucky people who absorb the rules of the language by osmosis, or one will fail at it forever, no matter how well-read one is.

  53. 53
    Jadehawk

    Reading is good for expanding one’s vocabulary though, and for developing more creative, non-thesaurus-based uses of that vocabulary.

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