Greetings Prospective Burnalists,
We're back for our third year! The Black Rock Beacon -- Burning Man's source for news,
views, photos, and, butt of course, strained references to processed pork products --
will be on the Playa in 2009.
Last year, we had a rocking camp, we produced five Playa papers and a website, and, most
importantly, Black Rock City liked us (you really liked us). People would bicycle by and
thank us for producing the paper, it was an exhilarating feeling.
Want to be a part of it in 2009 We're expanding our staff, and we have openings throughout
the organization. We need reporters for our website as well as the Playa papers. Don't wait
until August, we have assignments that need to be researched and sometimes written in the
But we're more than just a bunch of writers. We have leadership positions that must be filled
if we are going to expand our newspaper. Outside of the news department, these include:
-Paginators (at least 3)
-Printer's Devils (at least 6)
-Delivery People (squizillions)
See below for job descriptions.
In the news operation itself, we have several important job openings. Most of them do NOT
require extensive newspaper experience, but what we really, really, really do need is for
people who commit to doing them to follow through. It's not like we can call a temp agency
and have them send somebody along when you don't show...
-Assistant News Editors
-City Desk Editors
Here are the descriptions of the news department jobs, the others are described below.
-Managing Editor (1 or 2, or a Managing Editor and an Assistant Managing Editor): A marquee
job and a real chance to put your stamp on the Beacon. The Managing Editor(s) keep(s) the
legendary Master List of Articles in Development, the assignments that turn into the articles
that make the Beacon more than just yellowish paper with black dots all over it. The Managing
Editor(z) work(z) with the reporters and writers to shape their assignments into terse, witty,
porcine prose. This position, assuming a single Managing Editor, requires an average of 4 hours
a week pre-playa, scaling up from about 1 hour in the spring to 10 or so as we prepare the first
edition and for departure to the playa. On-playa, the Managing Editor could reasonably expect to
work 5 hours a day.
-Day Editors (4 or 5). Supporting the Managing Editor(i), each Day Editor is responsible for one
issue of the Beacon. While the Managing Editor(en) keep the MLAD, the Day Editors each maintain
the daily assignment sheet, showing which items are slated to appear that day. The Day Editors
also keep tabs on what was supposed to run and DIDN'T so that the next day's Day Editor knows
what was overheld. This position requires less than an hour of work each week pre-playa and at
least 8 hours (during one day) on the Playa.
-Assistant News Editors (2). These are reporter/editor positions, reporting to our News Editor.
One A.N.E. will be the point person for contacts with Law Enforcement and Media Mecca on the Playa.
This person will make daily trips to the police enclave, to Media Mecca, and, as needed to the
Ranger stations and Medical tent to find out what is up. The other A.N.E. should be a San
Francisco-based person who will cover developments in the Burning Man Organization. Think of it
as walking through a Borg cube and hoping they don't notice that you're taking notes, which is
more or less what you'll be doing (but if you want to use a tricorder, you'll have to get your
own, and we are NOT paying for your Vulcan ear extensions). The A.N.E. for legal affairs will
work about 4 hours a day on the Playa, with little pre-playa obligation. The A.N.E. for Bmorg
affairs will work 2 or 3 hours a week pre-Playa and a few hours on the Playa. While these editors
will generate story ideas, they need not write all of the articles.
-City Desk Editors (10-12 3-hour shifts). A bit of a misnomer, our City Desk is the human face of
the Black Rock Beacon. From the crack of dawn (say 11 a.m.) until deepest darkest night (5 p.m. or
whenever they feel like leaving), the City Desk editors meet and greet Burners, hand them newspapers,
collect their schwag and talk to people who come running up with story ideas. The latter role is
important, you have to decide if the person who says he just saw George Bush at Jiffy Lube is a
lunatic or just an extortionist. Working with the Day Editor, the City editors are the "front end"
of the on-Playa editorial process. It's a good way to get a feeling for the Beacon. Depending on where
our camp is located, we might want to put a satellite City Desk at Center Camp or in the Cafe.
-Photographers. We'll have a few photographer openings. Photogs scurry about the Playa, capturing images
to go with our articles as well as those weird and wonderful bits of wild art that make Playa Life worth
living. Note: only digital photos are acceptable. Where do you think you are? Time commitments vary.
-Photo Wranglers. (5 shifts) The wrangler dudes help the photogs get their pixels into our Motley Crue of
Playamacs. You need to have a bit of computer savvy (and if you know Photoshop, so much the better). It's
about a 5-hour commitment each day.
-Illustrators. All photos are art but not all art is photos. We need one or two people who can do line
drawings. If you think you should have a daily comic strip, convince us, maybe you will.
-Copy Editors (2 or 3 per day). Copy Editors are our first line of defense against bad juju. Even though
we're at Black Rock City, libel laws still apply, so we need to read our stories over and make sure
they're fair and accurate (unless, of course, they refer to something that can be processed into bacon,
in which case they only have to be accurate). A good job for people who like to write, hang out at
newspapers, and who want to learn about the workings of the Beacon. It's also not a bad way to get a
feel for editing if you want to do it professionally. Shifts run from about 1 to 5 hours, mostly in
-Paginators: We need at least 3 people to help lay out our newspaper. We use inDesign on System X Macs,
so we're primarily looking for people who know how to use that, though if you're a whiz with Quark Express
you can probably figure it out. This is a night job, it starts at 6 or 7 and ends around midnight. If
you've done it in the past for the Gazette, then we DEFINITELY want you!
-Printer's Devils (6 or more) The Beacon is printed on our cool duplicator that we bought pretty much out
of our own pockets. To keep it cool, we do this in the dark of night, inside a hermetically sealed (well,
cleanish) van. You get ink on your hands, you're the first to see the paper, and we can teach you how to
do this pretty quickly. This is an excellent way for somebody who thinks journalists are idiots and
would-be Burning Man journalists are pretentious twits to volunteer for the paper without compromising
their ethics. It takes about 4 hours to print the Beacon, and we'd like to split the shifts, so figure
a minimum commitment of 2 hours.
-Delivery Specialists. Finally, as dawn breaks over Black Rock City, our Deliverance department brings
the Beacon right into people's tents. This is a great job if you like to get schwag. Positions are early
morning, starting around dawn and more or less finished by 10.
Finally, we have these positions that are outside of the newspaper. This is our weakest link,
staffingwise, and therefore the place where you could make the biggest difference.
-Operations Manager. The Operations Manager is the Managing Editor of the Beacon organization. This
person's job is to understand what all the department heads are doing and make sure we're not working
at cross purposes. The O.M. also must take responsibility for things that otherwise might fall between
the cracks, like making sure we have the right extension cords. It will require just one or two hours
a week pre-Playa and then one or two hours a day at BRC.
-Fund Raiser. Lastest but not leastest. We need somebody who can go out and get us some money. There
could be thousands of dollars of foundations grants with our name on them, but how will we know unless
we look? The Fund Raiser will also devise gimmicks like our vaunted (if not particularly successful)
Breakfast in Bed With a Playa Hottie raffle.
To apply for any of these jobs: Join us on the
Tribe.net bulletin board system at
http://theblackrockbeacon.tribe.net or send an email