The world has put veteran journalists out to pasture

A job-seeking veteran reporter who was laid off from a Chicago newspaper a few years ago forwarded a Sun-Times Media help-wanted ad to Chicago Reader media critic Michael Miner and asked, “Is it legal?” (His answer: “I don’t know.”)

Here’s an excerpt of the ad (with my boldfaced line):

Wrapports and Sun-Times Media are looking for energetic, open-minded and diversely-talented individuals to work as content editors on a team responsible for putting new ideas and business models into action . . . Ideal candidates will be familiar with journalism basics, and will be recent college graduates or professionals generally with less than 5 years of experience.

What’s an older journalist to do?

Miner reaches out to Kathy Bernard, who runs and advises journalists (and others) how to get employers to focus on your qualifications and not your age. A few of her tips:

* Replace “20+ years of [whatever] experience,” with “extensive [whatever] experience”
* Remove the outdated phrase “References available upon request”
* Remove dates you attended college or received your degree.

Miner closes his column with these observations about the job-hunting experience for boomers:

Names are changed, hair is dyed, ages are hidden, experience is concealed, and the old-fashioned talents we’re most proud of go unmentioned, because that’s the way the cradle robbers want it. Forget his sexuality — Anderson Cooper flaunts his gray hair. Give the man some credit!

* The coy deceits of struggling journalists (Chicago Reader)