Megan Cassidy shared her “before the makeover” cover letter in class this morning.
We didn’t show you the rewrite because I was trying to cover so much ground too quickly. Here’s an excerpt:
Dear Ms. ______,
On an uneventful Thursday earlier this semester, an exasperated Missourian editor held up a sheet of paper and asked our newsroom a rhetorical, defeated question: “Why didn’t we know about this?!”
It was a printout of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article from that day about University Hospital’s internal medicine residency program being placed on probation for failing to adhere to national guidelines. It was a bona fide scoop about the University of Missouri — clearly our turf.
After having my emails and phone calls ignored by officials, I drove up to the hospital with a vague plan for a charm ambush. Upon arrival, I persuaded an administrative assistant to (literally) slide me a sheet of paper that named a former chief resident who “ran the program into the ground,” as she put it.
After telling the media relations officer’s assistant that I would wait until he was “back from a meeting in a few hours” he mysteriously showed up 20 minutes later and consented to an interview.
I gathered facts and discovered errors in the rival article. But I was also able to find out the specific reason for the probation – something that hadn’t been shared with any other reporter who’d called that day, my editor told me later. From my research on the accreditation website before I left for the interview, I was also able to question the officer on a contradiction he had made about the timing of when the probation could be lifted.
It’s not the only time in this semester at ColumbiaMissourian.com that I have used my powers of persuasion, energy and focus to get a story. I refuse to talk around an issue and make sure I have used every online and traditional resource before drafting my official questions. I am proficient with researching via social media, ProfNet and myriad other sources.
Prior to returning to graduate school, I worked as a writer/editor for the education section of Vault.com, a career information website. I have additionally written more colorful content for American Cheerleader Magazine and BulldogReporter.com.
I would love the opportunity to put these research and writing skills to work with the editors of National Geographic. I have traveled as extensively as my budget has allowed in the past few years and view NG as the gold standard of deep international reporting and photojournalism.
I am available for an interview or to provide writing samples at your request.
Here’s the beauty part: She sent the letter yesterday. Today she got a call for an interview.