Thursday, January 19, 2006

From This Corner 

I normally don't comment on others' blog entries, but this one deserves explanation. I am not arguing with the point of the blog. Young PR practitioners don't read enough. But, it is not just young PR practitioners today. It is young PR practitioners since I can remember. Becoming a news junkie is a learned habit that most don't acquire in college or even in early publicist jobs. It's something they pick up over time.

How do I know this to be true? I taught in a university at one point. The students had little idea of what was going on in the world. I would refer to major business or political event, and they would stare at me. This was years ago. I've received many reasons for why students don't read news. The most common is they don't have the time. But no one has time. You MAKE the time, and that is the point of the blog entry, it seems to me. One disciplines oneself to find out what is happening in the world for how can you operate in PR without knowing the news?

I differ with the blog entry on one point. I don't care if one reads news online or in a newspaper or magazine as long as the person knows what is going on. The younger generation doesn't like newspapers much. That's OK. But, go online and check Google, Yahoo, AP, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, two or three news aggregation sites, news sites related to your clients' businesses and offbeat news that might give you good ideas.

I'm a news junkie and proud of it. I hope never to break the addiction. I find myself reading a great deal more news online and skipping over it in the newspaper -- and I still read seven newspapers a day. I agree that many of my best ideas have come from off-topic stories that leapt off a page. But that can and does happen online as well. It's just a different way of reading.

Young PR practitioners have to train themselves to read and read and read more until they are swimming, saturated and drowning in news. Their awareness of the world will skyrocket along with their usefulness to clients.

Thanks for the thoughts. I am amazed that this has struck such a nerve with a lot of folks.

And someone has to teach me how to make stories jump up off online searches. I just absolutely cannot get anything out of it beyond using it as a safeguard to catch stories I would have no chance of reading.

I remember my first journalism professor telling me that if I was not a news junkie I should not be in the business. I think I finally understand him.

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