Friday, November 22, 2013

Advice for Young Journalists

I've logged a lot of years and accumulated a lot of wisdom since my days as a young news prodigy! So naturally, a lot of young journalists come to me for advice. But I can't talk to every young journalist! Thankfully, this exciting new technology gives me the opportunity to share with a broader audience! Here are my three tips for young journalists:

1) Pay attention to what the smart people are saying! If a diverse group of geniuses (say, for instance, Thomas Friedman, Mike Allen, Mark Halperin, Bob Woodward, and Joe Scarborough) are all saying the same thing, then you should say it too!

2) Your job is to make people feel better about themselves! While most young journalists grasp tip #1 quite readily, this tip is harder for some to understand! One way to make people feel better about themselves is to provide reassurance that their political, economic and cultural leaders know what they are doing and are managing things in a way that is for the best! But another way, and this is what is tricky, is to provide bad news about the oppression of minorities, crime, war, and misbehaving starlets or politicians! While it may seem counter-intuitive that such stories could make people feel better about themselves, remember, your audience isn't a downtrodden minority, and doesn't live in a crime-ridden neighborhood or war-torn country! Only a few of them are corrupt politicians or celebrities! Hearing about the less fortunate makes your audience feel better about themselves, if you do it right! Don't believe me? Check the comments on this post.

3) Adopt a lively, invigorating style! If you're a print journalist, the best way to do this is through copious use of exclamation points! Nothing appeals to readers more! Don't believe me? Here's a real comment about this very blog, written by a young fan:
his consistent use of the "!" Increases my energy level, makes clear that I really really need to pay attention to that point, and makes me feel better about myself. In this season of gratitude, what more could you need?!!
 I shall not reveal the name of this fan, since she may be shy, as young ladies often are! But feel free, if you are reading this, to claim credit in the comments, young fan!

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