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Nov. 10 2009 - 2:57 pm | 420 views | 0 recommendations | 11 comments

Wanna be an Investigative Reporter? Scientology Wants YOU!

Would you like having this guy as your news editor?


You may think it’s extremely tough to find well-paying, longform investigative writing work these days, but maybe you’re not looking in the right places.

Maybe you’re not looking toward Scientology.

Freedom Magazine, the official investigative reporting arm of the Church of Scientology, is looking for sleuths:

Company: Freedom Magazine


Location: Clearwater, Florida

Job Status: Freelance

Salary: Negotiable

Description: Freedom Magazine is looking for experienced investigative reporters for short and long-range assignments. Freedom, published by the Church of Scientology since 1968, covers human rights and social betterment issues and does investigative reporting in the public interest. Projects for this particular assignment are in the Tampa Bay, Florida area for the most part, but investigation can be conducted by phone and through Internet research.

One might gather that this is in response to a bunch of damning reports from the St. Petersburg Times (check out Freedom’s response to the Times’ investigation), but regardless, this is, in fact, investigative reporting work.

Is it worth the threat of being indoctrinated into a “thriving cult of greed and power“? Is it worth having Tom Cruise as your news editor (or at least someone on Freedom’s equivalent to an editorial board)? And since Scientology is known for attempting to stifle anti-Scientology rhetoric with lawsuits and disinformation, would it be possible to do quote-unquote unbiased reporting for the institution?

I don’t know. But the phrase “work is work” comes to mind.


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  1. collapse expand

    Investigative journalists created their own organization in 1975. It is called Investigative Reporters and Editors (www.ire.org). I have been active since the beginning; from 1983-1990 I ran it day to day as executive director. Because I’m so deeply identified within the journalism world as an investigative journalist, I often receive requests for advice. Recently, an experienced investigative journalist who has found it difficult to conduct his work because of the economic downturn asked me if he should apply for the Scientologists’ opening. I told him no, even though I like to see superb investigative reporting no matter who is funding it. More than any other existing organization that comes to mind, the Scientologists have been so hostile to outside journalists that I cannot see crossing the line to accept employment there. But I told my acquaintance that I’m speaking only for myself. After all, for some folks, work is indeed work, as the T/S posting by Matt Stroud says.

    • collapse expand

      I’m reminded of this LA Weekly story by Evan Wright after he left his job as a Hustler editor. I imagine working for Larry Flynt might be slightly less treacherous than working for David Miscavige (and Tom Cruise?), but I wonder if the mere experience of receiving assignments and then submitting and editing copy through the Church of Scientology would generate anecdotal material worthy of an an after-the-fact story like Wright’s. Thinking about it that way… would it still be unworthy of the risk?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Replying to Matt Stroud’s question: Larry Flynt might be sleazy in many ways. But, as far as I know, he’s not an avowed, active enemy of investigative reporting when it’s aimed at him. So working as an investigative journalist for Flynt might be less objectionable than working for the Scientologists. On the other hand, if I learn that Flynt has sued and/or otherwise threatened the well being of journalists who look into his operations, then he deserves to be categorized with the Scientologists.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    I’m not saying Flynt and Miscavige have the same approach to First Amendment issues and I’m certainly not arguing that an investigative journalism gig with the Church of Scientology wouldn’t be extremely restrictive and maybe even impossible without catering completely to the strict demands of whatever attack jobs the Church might have in mind.

    I am however saying that, for an enterprising person who wants to write about Scientology from the inside, what better way to understand how the Church works?

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    The Prison Dilemma is a collection of links and other stuff I stumble across while writing and reporting for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University -- an organization that investigates claims of wrongful conviction in Pennsylvania's State Correctional Institutions. If you have tips, thoughts, ideas, requests -- or if you know someone with a wrongful conviction claim -- contact me here:

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