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How journalist instincts and writing skills are valued – even if not by the media!

If you are a journalist or a journalism student worried about being able to get a job – I hope this post encourages you.


Your journalism skills and instincts are very valuable – especially in “serious” businesses.

Journalist writing instincts you may take for granted can make a big difference in the business world  helping businesses stand out from competitors and win more work.

I know that’s not why you wanted to be a journalist – but it’s good to know your ninja  news writing skills are valuable in the workforce – even more valued (and rewarded) OUTSIDE of the media.

It doesn’t have to be the corporate  world you help – you can also help  NFPs and good causes too.

I love making a positive difference using my reporter skills to help good causes pro bono. The pro bono work  makes me feel less guilty for taking the corporate dollar 🙂

I think the media tries to brand business and PR as the Dark Side to stop journalists  venturing out into a place where they  realise they can be valued and  their skills are valuable.

This is just my personal theory and experience after “getting out” and seeing the world beyond the media. Maybe I’ve been lucky with the businesses I’ve been helping.

So  I encourage you – there is hope.

At the end of this post I’ll add a link to a great post by a US journalist about her experience: very well written and  it describes the current state of the industry in the US.

I  strongly recommend you take the time to read it – if you haven’t read it already! Her post was well circulated in media circles in Australia!

How your ninja news writing skills are valuable 

News writing tweaks can make a big difference – little things such as the journalist instincts for:

  •  active voice
  • attention grabbing words
  • newsworthiness 
  • catchy headlines and headings and
  • more engaging present or future-focussed tenses and angles.

I call this: adding a touch of newsy-ness – (inspired by Colbert’s truthiness).

I know (from experience as a journalist) that media organisations think THEY are doing YOU a favour by giving you a job.

In a way they are right because journalism can be a wonderfully exciting career – but that’s no excuse for  media organisations paying staff poorly and treating them badly.

I was lucky to have had good media experiences – but many of my colleagues still working in the profession (a number that gets smaller and smaller every week!) seem very unhappy.

It’s hard to have any job power when you have hundreds of people lining up for your job if you’re not happy with the way you’re treated.

Journalists are like sharks’ teeth – an Australian media boss once said – new ones keep on coming through!

My point is that the business world (in my experience) understands that YOU are doing THEM a favour when you help them make their business writing more engaging and lively.

One of my editor mates described his moving to a corporate communications job:

They think what I do is MAGIC! I never got this sort of respect in TV

Many professionals write poorly because they were taught at university to write in a detached, passive style that rewards jargon and polysyllabic magnificence and the pretentious airing of one’s erudition.

loved uni studying to be a journo  and arvos watching the footy

In Australia – and the US where I studied journalism – journalism is shrinking.  Job opportunities are shrinking. Experienced journalists are leaving the industry in droves.

“weep for the future” (Ferris Bueller fans will get the reference!) for journalism students looking for media jobs.

That’s why I want to encourage you that your journalism skills and valuable.

Just think of how you can apply your skills in helping businesses improve their writing. Work hard to learn and practice your news writing skills.

Now you may say: “But I want to be a journalist – not work for big business!”

I understand and respect that.

This post is not to say how good the world outside media is. I just want  YOU to know that your news skills are valued and valuable. Your skills are appreciated – even if not by media bosses.

If you’re interested in how your reporter instincts can bring business writing to life – here are some more detailed posts:


Good Night, and Good Luck,



And here’s the link to that US journalist’s experience. I loved this piece when I first read it. It was shared by lots of Australian Journalists. The piece really struck a chord!


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