The PRP helps us think through our ideas in the context of what we want to say and what our audience might need/want to hear.
How to Write a Better Year-End Report
Using the PRP is easy. I often sketch the table out on a whiteboard or piece of paper and complete the organizer by hand. This slows down my brain just enough to think a little more carefully about what I want to include.
After completing the top portion, I work across from the POSITION to the rationale. For each reason "why", I add examples or evidence to strengthen each point, often referring to the GOALS to make sure I'm serving the stated purpose.
I'm superstitious and I'm always seeing "signs". I have to wear the same sweatshirt when Carolina plays basketball until we lose and then I switch. When I see a red-tailed hawk, I think it signals good luck. And when two good pieces about storytelling and a promo for STORIES: The AIDS Monument landed my lap on the same day, I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something.
Story gets a lot of lip service in the content marketing universe, but it's as old as the cave drawings. That's how important narrative is to us at people on an almost molecular level.
Read these terrific treatises on storytelling and start thinking about how you can incorporate some of these ideas and tactics into your work.
I'm still floating a bit on the energy from last week's National High School Journalism Convention in DC. Over the course of two days I spoke to more than 400 scholastic journalists -- reporters, editors, columnists, yearbook staffers, radio show producers -- and a few of their advisors. It was invigorating and reassuring to sit down with so many young people eager to use words and pictures to tell better stories, right wrongs and -- as hokey as it sounds -- make the world a better place. I was both heartened and impressed by their interest in and passion for news and analysis.
Working with young people is one of the best things about my job. If you're not already involved with local schools, youth groups or other organizations catering to teenagers (especially those considering journalism), I invite you to re-consider. Working with these kids, even just for a few minutes during a break at a conference, gives them access to professionals and real-world perspectives. And it creates an opportunity for us to develop and nurture the next group of people we'll be hiring or relying on for our news.
Whether it's a structured thing like speaking at NHSJC or working with your local school paper, or a more casual thing like having coffee with an aspiring writer, getting involved with the next generation is good for all of us.
It meant a lot to me as a high school journalist to meet and learn from pros already in the field. Luckily, one of my Dad's best friends and poker buddies was the editor of the local paper, Jim Shumaker (on whom the Shoe cartoon was based). That ensured I had opportunities and mentoring as I found my way and learned the ropes.
That's why I present at the National High School Journalism Convention. It's a terrific opportunity to return the favor done to me by those reporters, columnists and editors who gave me a hand when I was a scholastic journalist.
I'm giving five workshops this year:
Be a Better Interviewer: Getting sources talking
Revisiting Revision: 10 strategies
Source Diversity: How to get it
Identifying Credible Information Sources
Opinion & Editorial Writing: Capture the power of your ideas
These are largely the same decks I use when coaching and training professionals -- only some of the examples are different to improve relevance. Feel free to share with the writers (young and older) in your sphere.