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Warm reception: this journo job in a rural US town is fit for a film

“Looking for something  a little different?” read a job listing that went viral recently. “Want to live in a rural community away from the nonsense and the stress?”

The listing, on journalismjobs.com, was for a reporter to join a small independent newspaper in rural West Virginia, a state that’s already very rural. In addition to the core responsibilities of capturing the goings-on of a country town and its council meetings, the ad outlined some unusual “additional duties”.

This job sounds very much like the premise of a film: part rom-com, part thriller, because no one stays at a “small Victorian hotel” thinking they won’t see a ghost.

This job sounds very much like the premise of a film: part rom-com, part thriller, because no one stays at a “small Victorian hotel” thinking they won’t see a ghost.Credit:Getty Images

“Applicant will also be scheduled to man (or woman) the front desk of a small Victorian hotel for two or three shifts a week,” it said, before suggesting the position would be ideal for someone who “simply wants to hide from their ex or people who they have really pissed off”. Compensation would come in the form of money, albeit not very much, “a small fully furnished suite at the inn” and “all the coffee you can drink”.

The newspaper’s name? The INNformer. You can probably see why this listing sparked such delight online. First of all, it was a topic of conversation which did not contain the word “variant”, a blessed and rare occurrence these days. Second, journalism jobs – of any description – are worth celebrating. But the most compelling reason of all, I think, is that it sounds very much like the premise of a film: part rom-com, part thriller, because no one stays at a “small Victorian hotel” thinking they won’t see a ghost.

Can’t you just see it now? Miranda Tapsell or Margot Robbie is the scribe from the big smoke, spilling coffee and chasing deadlines until one day, out of nowhere, her handsome but ultimately vapid fiancé decides he’s out of love. Our plucky heroine is dragged out of an Olivia Rodrigo-induced stupor by girlfriends for a night on the town. Cue Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, a dance floor, some margaritas, and then she’s ready to pursue her Country Living dreams.

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Miranda/Margot packs all her favourite floral dresses in an old suitcase and is dragging it from the old train station to the inn when she locks eyes with the local baker, somehow both gruff and affable. A plot twist involves a developer’s threat to bulldoze all the charming small businesses on the main street, including the bakery, for an Aldi. The journalist saves the day – and subsequently wins a Walkley – with a searing exposé of corruption in the building permit business.

Before romance can bloom, however, there’s an inn to navigate, populated by a cast of characters quirkier than the ancient building’s electrical wiring. Ideally, the inn is a B&B, because while making small talk with a revolving set of strangers over French toast is personal hell, it makes for a fun montage scene.

As for the thriller angle, the floorboards creak sometimes but it’s just a long-time inn resident who stalks the halls of an evening to get in her 10,000 steps.

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