If the cold weather isn’t enough of a reminder, it’s still the start of the year. And, if we’re being honest, we could all use a few New Year’s resolutions to replace the two or three that have already gone away with the first flip of the calendar. With that in mind, here are a few tips from someone who has witnessed the industry change drastically over the past decade-plus.
That was ages ago in the media world – when print newspapers still appeared to be a viable career and the Internet was novel. While some lessons have evolved, others are just as timely as they were 10 years ago – and they are applicable to communicators or content creators, as well.
1. Write clearly – and get to the point. That is still the best advice I have ever received from a teacher. Today, it’s even more important, as readers have more "snackable" choices.
2. Be open to new ideas and technologies. More than six years ago, I would’ve bet you a hefty sum that Twitter was just a flash in the pan – and I’d be much poorer for it. Other social platforms are sure to emerge, so keep an open mind. Today, Twitter is a media type in and of itself, not to mention a public company worth keeping a close eye on.
3. Be organized and curious. Long gone are the days of late-arriving – or perhaps hungover – journalists getting a delayed start on the day and working on lax deadlines. Today, the websites that start early ahead of their competitors are most likely to win eyeballs.
This isn’t just a lesson for media types. With the emergence of newsjacking, staffers of all kinds who are knowledgable about up-to-date events have a leg up on their colleagues.
4. Jacks of all trades win the day. I would advise any young writer to sharpen their visual chops alongside a devotion to The AP Stylebook. Every day the world becomes more image-driven, so develop those photo-taking and editing skills alongside the copy.
5. Who dares wins. One thing that has not changed, but become more true than ever in the minute-to-minute news cycle, is that the more aggressive source-makers and tip-chasers are still king and queen. Journalism and media consumption are even less for the faint of heart than they were a decade ago.
Frank Washkuch is news editor of PRWeek. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.