Journalists chase stories. Nothing new there. But what makes news newsworthy? A group of high flying engineers set out to discover this during the Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2010 Executive Engineers event this weekend. For both the businessman so often in the firing line and the person brandishing the pen it’s valuable to quantify how stories grab imagination.
We were there to learn how to handle the press. Through on the spot crisis communication exercises a number of attributes revealed themselves as invaluable: Being human more than anything, an ability to empathise and project charisma; of paramount importance is the need to carefully select words and reinforce the main points. And did you know the Sun swings the vote during elections? So dumb down and dumb down again! (Saying so just jeopardised my support!)
A final thought: Kobayashi Maru, or no-win scenarios can only be successfully manipulated with complete transparency and placing emphasis on how well situations are being dealt with rather than the problem itself. Fascinating to study the timeline of BP press releases during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Switching camps, blogging isn’t as simple as putting pen to paper. Loving writing, it’s great to recuperate time to reflect and distil. But can bloggers be quite so selfish as that? To find an audience you have to write something worth reading. If you can’t find an audience are your musings better left under your mattress? Figuring out how to balance subject, style and advertising currently seems like an act of wizardry. Time to start employing some of the journalist’s tricks.