Q: The boutique agency I work for was acquired by a huge
multinational firm last month, and I am already dreading the future. Our
agency is small and tight-knit, without a restrictive hierarchy and all
the logistical complications that go along with being part of a giant
network. Now everyone is scared they are either going to be laid off, or
that the our great company culture will change drastically. Should I
start looking for a new job?
Mr. J, Atlanta
A: It's disturbing that no one in your agency has addressed these
worries. Ironic, isn't it, that the very industry that lectures clients
on the importance of internal communication so often ignores its own
Run to your supervisor right away and share your concerns in a
thoughtful, constructive way. Don't scream, cry, brandish blunt objects
or threaten to leave. You need a benchmark on which to base your
expectations for your future. If those expectations are not met, then
you have some leverage.
But don't assume that all will be lost when the cultures converge. You
may find many exciting new opportunities and the chance to offer your
clients a more dynamic range of services that will make your job even
more satisfying. Bigger can sometimes be better.
Q: I'm fairly new to the agency side, and one of my most daunting
projects is making media lists, primarily because I never know who is
the best type of editor to select when given titles that include
associate editor, editorial director, managing editor, editor-in-chief,
online editor, assignment editor, assistant editor, deputy editor,
department editor, editor at large, etc. How can I get a better idea of
the responsibilities of each position? Is there some guide I can
Ms. R, San Francisco
A: To answer your question I consulted my friend Kevin Walker, VP and MD
of Dittus Communications, whose clients include the Magazine Publishers
of America. "Figuring out what various journalists do from their titles
can be tough, especially because titles mean different things at
different kinds of publications," he said. "The managing editor at a
daily newspaper is usually the No. 2 in the newsroom. The same title at
a magazine belongs to the top manager in charge of the production of the
"In general," he added, "you are after the kind of folks with titles
like 'assignment editor,' 'department editor' or 'associate editor.'
Those folks will often be responsible for getting the right information
to the right reporter. Also, check out the size of the publication. You
will never reach the editor of The New York Times, but the editor of a
weekly local newspaper will often field pitches."
Q: I work for a mid-size financial services company. Last week I made a
big mistake in one of our press releases and the CEO screamed at me for
over an hour. Now she wants to see all my final releases before they go,
when she used to just check the draft. The trouble is we send out about
three or four releases a week, and getting her to check everything will
take forever. How can I convince her to give me another chance?
Mr. Z, Philadelphia
A: Suck it up, sugar. You blew it. What you fail to realize is she is
giving you another chance by not putting you on the next bus to Jobless
Junction. Do what you're told, don't complain, check your work
thoroughly, and never give her anything that isn't perfect. In short,
prove yourself. There's no shortcut, I'm afraid.
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