Help with the News Media
Over the years, I’ve gathered my share of war stories in the media trenches as author, columnist, editor, and more. In turn, I’ve attempted to return this experience to those who deal with us, the mean and ugly hordes of the news media. I do so in speeches, seminars, and consultations; online discussions; a book on the subject; and a tips and techiques page on this Web site. Each of these areas is briefly outlined below. Also included is a link to a news media glossary.
Speeches, Seminars, & Consultations
I speak at trade shows and other gatherings, conduct seminars, and consult privately with those who desire help developing their media campaigns. However, I must avoid appearances of conflict of interest from unfairly providing services to one company when I might review its products or the products of direct competitors. Therefore, my seminars always are open to a diversity of companies, while availability for private consultations varies. Check out details about private consultations.
Online Discussion Areas
Over the years, I’ve moderated public discussion areas about the news media on major online services such as AOL and CompuServe, where I’ve responded to questions, critiqued news releases of visitors, and so forth. Because these discussions are public and therefore no company garnered selective assistance, almost anything is fair game. As a bonus, participants not only receive my assistance, but often the input of other participants. If sufficient demand arises from you and other visitors, I’ll add a similar public discussion page on this site.
For details about a current online discussion group about Microsoft Word, visit the All About Microsoft Word™ page on this site.
Taming the News Media
I have literally written the book on news media strategy and tactics–a complete how-to resource. Taming the News Media covers everything you need to know–no holds barred. Besides my own chapters, eight top-tier resource people have contributed guest chapters, including a Senior Editor of PC Magazine, the Editor-in-Chief of Computer Gaming World, a Publishing Director of IDG Books, representatives of one of the largest public relations firms in the technology industry, and more. For complete information and deeply discounted ordering details, check out the Taming page on this site.
News Media Tips & Tricks
My public discussion areas as well as seminars, consultations, speeches, e-mail, and preparation for Taming the News Media–but mostly my years serving in the news media–have yielded tips and advice that others have found valuable in their media efforts. So besides writing Taming the NewsMedia, I’ve placed some news media tips on this Web site.
News Media Glossary
The news media oozes unique terms–and even more often terms used in unique ways. Check out a glossary.
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A relic of the ’60s, here’s the short version (I sometimes can be merciful) of the four major periods of my life–my three (and counting) careers to date, plus my early years. I’ll begin with my writing career to spare those who would be utterly bored by the rest.
The Writing Life
Other than a few manuscripts sold as a sideline, my professional writing career began in early 1990, when I sold a story to the modest Shareware Magazine. (Like a dozen publications since then, I managed to kill off this one a couple of years later.)
Within a year, I was freelancing full time and selling two syndicated columns, feature stories, and reviews to a variety of smallish publications in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Canada. During that period, I also held the position of International Editor for two publications.
Early 1993 marked a key turning point. Thanks to a kind editor who apparently saw some hope in me (and who is too modest to be named), I entered the big leagues of computer publications via PC Magazine (U.S. edition). That publication remains one of my markets, accompanied by sales to other major periodicals.
Late 1994, thanks to the same editor, marked another turning point, this time into the world of books. Since then, I’ve edited and authored a mix of books and magazines, and haven’t looked back. More details about specific book and magazine credits are found (where else?) in Jerry’s Books & Articles section earlier on this page.
Beginning in the Spring of 2000, on a contractual basis I also serve as managing editor for various book publishers and consult with private clients, assisting with their media-related needs, designing Web sites, and more. Throughout my careers, I’ve been addicted to diversity as the spice of professional life.
Graphic & Media Arts
For a decade, the 1980s, I ran a full-service media arts firm in Chicago, for nonprofits, individuals, and for-profit companies locally and nationally. My company began by writing and phototypesetting resumes, brochures, and similar small projects. It matured into handling projects of all kinds, from business cards to newsletters and books. In the last half of the decade, I also folded in a variety of computer services, from writing software to maintaining client databases. With a touch of irony, the demise of my business was largely caused by the rise of desktop publishing.
Youth Services & Other Rebellious Years
For another decade, the 1970s, I was on staff (mostly as director) of local, regional, and national nonprofit agencies that provided counseling, advocacy, and other services to youth while based in Chicago, New York, Washington, Winnipeg (Canada), and Los Angeles.
The Early Years
I was born in a small log cabin in Fargo, North Dakota. (Okay, it wasn’t a cabin; but the post-World War II, sub-building-code basement apartment of the first couple of years of my life probably was humble enough for most purposes. Soon thereafter, my parents and I moved to the Wild West of Washington State directly across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.
While in college during the tumultuous 1960s, I studied, worked, and mostly traveled throughout Europe during what no doubt was the most “formative” year of my life. Don’t laugh–okay, go ahead–but imagine a 19-year-old Yankee wandering throughout Europe carrying a duffel bag on his back and some sort of weird, idolized synthesis of Bob Dylan and James Bond in his head. (Most of the Bond has long since been purged; some Dylan remains.) Imagine studying the Spanish language in a German teacher’s college–yeah, taught in German–while simulltaneously studying German at a nearby college for wayward English-speaking students. Imagine landing the head doorman job at the hottest new hotel in a nearby town by name-dropping that I would mention the interviewer while dining with the baroness that evening. Of course, I neglected to mention that I was one student among an entire student body in the same room as the baroness and that she and I were barely on speaking terms. A weird year? In any case, I more or less survived.
Though it has proven to be no earthly good, after a final summer of wanderlust in Europe, I (barely) yielded to conventional wisdom and returned to earn a degree from a Stateside university. I was graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington in 1970, with majors in psychology and sociology. (I stumbled through English–shhh, don’t tell my editors.)