Reporter at Sea-Sick

File this under newspaper promotional contests that make us feel sick to our stomach.
USA Today is teaming up with cruise line Royal Caribbean International in a contest headlined “Royal Caribbean and USA TODAY Open a Sea of Dreams for Aspiring Journalists.”

Royal Caribbean International is teaming up with USA TODAY to launch the “Reporter at Sea” contest in search of a talented citizen journalist to help cover one of the biggest travel stories of the year - the unveiling of Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship. Starting today through October 9, 2009, aspiring journalists are invited to enter to win the coveted job of special field correspondent onboard Oasis of the Seas’ preview sailing alongside USA TODAY’S own cruise editor, Gene Sloan. Once onboard the ship, the lucky winner will receive behind-the-scenes access to file reports that will appear at USA TODAY’s Cruise Log about one of the most buzzed about hospitality and entertainment stories of the year.

Too bad David Foster Wallace isn’t around to enter it. While writing his 1996 essay titled, “Shipping Out; On the (Nearly Lethal) Comforts of a Luxury Cruise” for Harper’s magazine, he was barred from interviewing any cruise ship staff members after he jokingly asked a waiter whether he could have a spare bucket of au jus drippings from dinner so that he could try chumming for sharks off the back rail of the top deck. Ha!

This contest asks entrants to submit videos which will be judged “based on creativity and quality, as well as the entrant’s ability to entertain, effectively bring to life and clearly explain travel or cruising concepts, and articulate why he/she should be chosen to represent their country.”

Pass the Dramamine, we’re feeling a little queasy.

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Alexandra Fenwick is an assistant editor at CJR.