A bit less than a year ago, we started subscribing to the daily newspaper once again. It had been a while for me, personally. It wasn’t so much that I had given up on daily news–it was just that:
1) I read the paper at work, or,
2) I just didn’t have time (two little kids will do that to your “free time”)
So, we subscribed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Got off to a bit of a bumpy ride, but since then it’s been a coup for my wife and I. Personally, it’s been a much better way to get local news (rather than TV–sorry KARE-11). Much more in-depth (obviously) and better coverage of local (Minneapolis-based) events and news that impacts us. And, much like our decision to cut the cable cord, it’s meant less time watching TV, which has been a nice by-product.
But, it’s also played a nice role for me professionally, too.
Subscribing to the daily paper is now seen as a thing of the past. Something “old” people do (please, no jokes). Younger people barely know what a “newspaper” is anymore (I wish that were a joke).
But, despite all that, it’s been a big win for me so far. Here’s why:
Opportunities to recognize colleagues
At least a few times a week, I run across articles that mention a colleague or highlight a business they work for, in the paper. I use that as an opportunity to send these folks a quick note saying I saw them/their company in the paper, along with a short note/take on the article. This gives me a nice opportunity to connect with colleagues (referral sources/leads for me) and say “Hey, I’m thinking about you.” Makes a bigger impression than you might think.
Old-school clips for local clients (and colleagues)
Do 20-somethings even know what “clips” are? Sorry–rhetorical question But, getting the hard-copy paper gives you the chance to do just that–physically clip articles out of the paper, draw up a hand-written note and send it to a client or colleague. Again, great way to stand out from your competition (whoever that may be–job-seekers, other agencies/consultants, etc.)
Study local media
This is one of those old phrases I heard about growing up in this business. “Consume as much media as you can–and study it.” You’ll notice media consumption is a big habit with many PR folks–and rightfully so. Since we’re working with the media so closely, it pays to know what beats these people cover. Their writing style. And, what they’ve written about in the past. All of which I’ve learned–and then some–by reading the Strib each day. When reading an article, don’t simply read it–study the style, notice who wrote the piece and keep mental notes on other topics they write about, and even consider sending the writer a tweet or email telling them you enjoyed the article. Media love to be recognized just like you do
Learn to love the Business section
When I was growing up reading the paper, the first section I read was always the sports section. I know I’m not alone in that. As I grew older, I started reading the “Life” and “A” sections. But, I rarely read the Business section. Too many buzzwords and I never really understood much of the language. That was, until I started working for a accounting/consulting firm. I then started reading the Business section (as well as the Wall Street Journal) regularly. And you know what? I liked it. Once I dove it, and started to understand the lingo a bit more, I really got interested in the business world. Nowadays, I read the Business section FIRST. My point? Don’t limit your horizons with the paper–expand them! Learn to read the WHOLE paper–no matter how painful it might be. You’ll most likely learn something that will come in handy in a meeting or conversation in the weeks ahead.
So, that’s why I think it still pays to subscribe to the daily local paper. What about you? Are you a daily subscriber to your local fishwrap? Have anything to add to my list here?
Get Talking Points--my weekly e-newsletter--delivered straight to your e-mail inbox each Wednesday by signing up above. I'll provide you with insightful posts, useful how-to articles and other information designed to help YOU do your job better.