Another reason people talk to journalists

Posted on October 18, 2013

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I’ve been going through some old reporter notebooks, some going back 15 years. (I’m about to throw them out – just looking for anything interesting or a few contacts – which means I’m not a hoarder, since you wonder.)

Reporter's notebookBack then I was a young(ish) journalist on a B2B technology publication. Most of the people I had to speak to for my job were senior execs and on average 10-20 years older than me. If they weren’t much older than me it meant they were high-fliers. Either way, it could be intimidating.

I spent a lot of time thinking I needed to impress them – or at least prove myself to them – by understanding often complex technologies and how they made companies money.

This much I know

But, now that I’m older and I find myself speaking to younger reporters in media and marketing, I realise these people weren’t interested in how smart I was. There was nothing I was going to say in a short conversation – where, let’s face it, they’d be doing most of the talking – that would tell them much about who I was.

But, what I’m now certain about is that they cared about the information I was exposed to.

Journalists are among the most plugged-in people around. Knowing the latest goings on, including gossip, is perhaps the biggest part of the craft. There are plenty of journos who can’t write for toffee but if they are king of the scoop then they’re successful. (Those the other way around, craftspeople in the business of words, are often the best editors, at all levels.)

I realise now how many liked media work, whether formal interviews or a catch-up over a beer, because of the information it exposed them to.

As one CIO told me back then when he rushed in to an event at the last minute: “The dough is in the flow.”

*photo credit: Hades2k via photopin cc

Follow Tony on Twitter – @tphallett

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Posted in: Media, Work