Letter provided by Chico State University
Assistant Managing Editor/Copy Desks
St. Petersburg Times 490 First Ave. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33071
Dear Ms. Withheld,
Sure, I know that the main drag in my town of 47,000 is The Esplanade, and not the Esplanade. The gazebo and tree-lined paths that span one downtown city block are Plaza Park and not simply ”the downtown park.” Portions of Bidwell Park, a 3,600-acre city treasure, are appropriately called Upper Park and Lower Park, and not upper or lower Bidwell Park. But there are other things about Chico, Calif., I’m more proud I know.
Books in my bedroom chronicle the rise and demise of the city’s small black population between the Civil War and the Great Depression, and the long-distance romance captured in dozens of letters between Chico’s 19th century founder and his future wife. Sense of place–I’ve worked to achieve it during my 12 years here. And a storehouse of knowledge about my environment, about what makes Chico different from Sacramento, Calif., or from St. Petersburg, Fla., serves me well as a copy editor.
I’ve begun to study St. Petersburg: its beaches that attract tourists to buoy the state’s sales tax revenue, the manatees that prompt boating regulations. I learned the St. Petersburg Times is one of the few large dailies still protected from Wall Street through private ownership. I’ve set my sights on a newspaper I’d be proud to work for.
My resume illustrates that my love for local trivia is matched by my addiction to journalism. It doesn’t mention, however, that I edited my high school newspaper, tried out radio and television news as a teen-ager, and landed my first job at a daily newspaper at 18.
I own too many reference books, and idolize Barbara Wallraff–”Ms. Grammar” of The Atlantic Monthly–and Bryan A. Garner, editor of ”A Dictionary of Modern American Usage.” I’ve still got plenty to learn, but I hope you’ll consider letting me learn it under fire, on the copy desk of the St. Petersburg Times. If there’s one thing I can do, it’s learn, and quickly. I enjoyed the challenge of your copy-editing test, and I look forward to discussing my work with you.
Student name withheld