OLD Media Moves

From biz editor to communications director

August 11, 2009

Carolyn Pione, the former business editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, talks with UNC-Chapel Hill editing professor Andy Bechtel on The Editor’s Desk site about how she made the switch to communications director of CincyTech, a public-private partnership that aims to attract high-tech jobs to that part of Ohio.

Here is an excerpt:

Q. How has your experience as a business editor at a newspaper helped you in your current job?

A. Well, it’s definitely been a career change. But as business editor, I had regular interaction with business owners, executives and business and civic leaders. I wrote a column that increased my visibility in the community, so I got a lot of correspondence from readers and businesspeople. Those contacts have been a wonderful asset as I launched into this new field. It was already sort of community relations/good will building, perhaps an unusual experience for a journalist.

Also, having a business perspective and some sense of how businesses think has helped me to transition to this culture, which is a nonprofit but with a for-profit fund we invest in companies and so very oriented around financing and market development. And of course having spent a career in journalism, I think I’ve been able to create pitches that have relevance for the local reporters, and I know what not to waste their time pitching. That insight is helpful.

Q. Earlier in your career, you worked as a copy editor at the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report. Do you still use those skills in this job? How?

A. Oh gosh, yes. On every level. I edit my boss’s correspondence, I edit my own copy (as best I can) before posting it on our Web site or sending it out to reporters. I have an eye for detail and an instinct for explaining things as simply as possible. I still rely on the news judgment and sense of urgency that every good copy editor carries with him or her. And on a deeper level — and I hope this never dulls — I have the copy editor’s tendency to question everything.

Read more here.

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