The Orange County Register is hiring 26 people for its trainee program. The job posting (I’ve added the boldface) says: “The training positions are temporary, full time positions for six months. They pay $10 an hour and include housing. We have secured multiple-bedroom apartments for trainees.”
“Interesting hiring tactic,” wrote the Romenesko reader who forwarded the ad.
I asked the people at America’s most optimistic newspaper about it.
“Part of the reason we included housing was because of the high cost of housing in Orange County,” deputy editor Rob Curley tells Romenesko readers, “but another was that we wanted to make sure we got the best applicants, not just the ones whose parents could afford to send them here for a year.”
He says Register owner Aaron Kushner “wanted a world-class internship program to complement whatever we did.”
Because we wanted the program to involve folks for a year, it segued from an internship program to a training program. For the second half of the program, the trainees are even eligible for benefits.
The members of this program are spread throughout our news operation, including reporters, photographers, page designers and copy editors.
What’s interesting is that many aspects of this program — like the housing benefit — are being offered to even some of our three-month summer interns.
The paper has received hundreds of applications, says Curley. “Interest in the program has been far beyond what we could have expected. …I’ve been working with paid interns dating back to my time in Lawrence, but I’ve never seen a program like this. It’s a real commitment by the Register to help young journalists play an extremely active role in what has become one of the most interesting newspapers in the country.”