CHANGING TIMES

14 October 2016

In the first of a series of irregular blog posts, account manager Tom Payne describes his transition from journalism with the Leicester Mercury to PR here at Newsline.

 

Change. Noun. An act or process through which something becomes different.

It’s a funny old thing, change. Time stands still for no man and even for those who enjoy the strictest of routines, life is ever-changing.

Change is all around us. Sometimes good and sometimes bad, but always occurring. It is something I have come to embrace. After all, what are we without different experiences, different ideas and surroundings?

It’s a good thing I embrace change, as earlier this year I made one of life’s pretty major changes by swapping careers and moving from journalism into PR with Newsline.

While it may not be the most earth-shattering of moves, for me, it was a big one. From the age of about 10 or 11, all I ever wanted to be was a journalist. An anecdote of me, aged about 10, sat on the carpet at home grappling with a broadsheet newspaper is a favourite with the family.

I think I must have set some kind of record when I completed my first period of work experience at my local weekly newspaper, aged just 13. I doubt that would even be allowed to happen now. Nor would anyone find it easy to get into the world of journalism in the manner I did, straight from sixth-form, having racked up weeks of work experience over a five-year period.

I was lucky I knew what I wanted to do and I managed to achieve it. I enjoyed nearly 15 years in local and regional press, meeting some wonderful people and managing to pick up a couple of industry accolades along the way. I started as a junior reporter and worked my way up through most positions in the industry, bar editor, which – considering the majority of my career in newspapers was during my 20s – I can forgive myself for not quite achieving.

However, newspapers aren’t what they were. The industry isn’t what it was. It has changed.

But I embrace change, after all, so why leave? Well, it’s pretty straightforward, really. I just wanted a change. Having spent a working lifetime thus far in newspapers, I was ready for something else, a fresh challenge.

Not for me, the constant website clickbait (BIG change, by the way. Imagine what Joseph Pulitzer would have made of the Daily Mail Online…). That’s not proper journalism, not why I got into the game.

I have an affinity for the written word. Our complex language is taken too lightly by so many. The advent of predictive text and auto-correct means people can get by without knowing how to spell, how to punctuate, how to write.

But, for me, I couldn’t imagine not writing, not communicating the written word via whatever platform is put in front of me. So, when I decided the time was right to change careers, PR seemed a good route to take.

It wasn’t, and isn’t, a move I have taken lightly. While the transferable communication skills are obviously key, there are so many diverse facets and different skills to the industry, in addition to writing, which I am genuinely excited to learn and build upon.

From my first contact with Newsline, I knew it was the company I wanted to join. The different characters and skills within the office are perfect to help learn the trade for career #2. Hopefully, I can help bring something to Newsline, too. A blog, perhaps. That’s something they haven’t really done before and, after all, change is good…