The Mirror

Labor reporter wants you to pay for his drunken beach vacation

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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InTheseTimes labor reporter Mike Elk has balls.

It’s true — and he’s using them to get readers and friends to pay for a beach vacation he says he desperately needs after covering the Chattanooga Volkswagon labor dispute for the past six months.

Please avoid looking too closely at the sand creviced between his bare toes.

Elk, who, as some may recall, had an epic ongoing fight with Daily Beast‘s Eli Lake, makes his case, saying he really hasn’t slept in a few months. “I am beat and in desperate need for some time in the sun,” he wrote in his plea.

And it’s apparently working. The page indicates he has so far raised $595 for his $500 goal. He says a generous reader is matching all donations up to $500.

mikeHe begs… “Alas, as a labor reporter, I can’t actually afford to take a real vacation because most people read my work without actually paying for it. But don’t beat yourself up. If you feel guilty about this, here is an opportunity to cleanse your conscience: A generous reader has offered to match any donations to my ‘vacation’ fund up to $500 — money that won’t only pay for past informative journalism, but a piece I am working on down in Florida.”

There are perks to being a contributor to Elk’s sunny vacation:

“Donations over $50 get a postcard with an original drawing by me, and donations over $100 will get an original Mike Elk drunk dial from a beach.”

So far, at least one journalist has donated to his vacation fund — that’d be Nick Baumann of Mother Jones, who kicked in $20. Damn, he won’t get the drunk dial call, but so be it. He did get to look at this possibly nude picture of Elk, which the labor reporter posted to the donation page.

Read Elk’s entire plea and contribute (if you care to) here.

The Mirror sought comment from Elk on which beach he’ll choose and anything else he cares to share on the matter. Unfortunately, we may not be hearing back as his outgoing mail reads as follows (names have been blurred out to protect their email addresses):

“Ok, I am not actually out of the country, I am just in Florida watching Spring Training for two weeks after working 16 hour days back-to-back covering Volkswagen. But I lie and say I am out of the country because well, I mean, labor reporters deserve vacations too. If you are a desperate TV producer and need an emergency guest, please call me at [BLANK]. Maybe I can help, maybe I can’t. If this email is concerning a tip, please send it to In These Times staff writer, Cole Stangler in DC [BLANK]. If this is about an editorial concern about a story, please contact my editor Jessica [BLANK]. Hope all is well.”