OLD Media Moves

Lessons learned from a career journalist

January 24, 2009

Rocky Mountain News business editor Rob Reuteman writes Saturday about some of the things he has learned in his three-decade career as a journalist.

Here are some good ones for any business reporter:

* Some companies have corporate communications departments that facilitate the flow of information to the public. Others clearly have marching orders to build a virtual brick wall around the company and its executives. Beware of the latter.

* When you get a press release on a company’s quarterly earnings, and it doesn’t mention net income in the first sentence, it means they’ve lost money and you will have to get into the fine print to find that out.

* Sometimes a company will call and complain about things a reporter has had the nerve to ask. I repeat editor John Temple’s dictum: Report aggressively, write conservatively.Â

* Once in a great while, when I really have to lock horns with a reporter, I’ll say, “Look, I don’t walk in here every morning thinking about what a big (jerk) I can be. But if the situation calls for me to be a (jerk), I’ll be the biggest (jerk) you ever saw. You don’t want that.”

Read more here.

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