Continuing the theme I began yesterday, I’m going to focus on another way for you to not only keep, but advance your reporting career. This is one of those ideas that I truly believe newspaper companies should be already doing as a matter of course. But since many are not, I encourage you to do it on your own.
I used a question for the headline of this post because my thought for today involves converting the staid business card into a tool for the modern reporter. Most newspapers still provide business cards to their reporters. They’re typically the traditional fare with the name of the newspaper, mailing address, reporter’s name, title, phone number, email address and maybe web address. But that’s it and sometimes, they feature even less. I still see business cards that don’t include email addresses, forcing reporters to write them on the blank side. And there’s the missed opportunity.
There are many ways, beyond email, snail-mail and the telephone, that readers can now interact with reporters. Many reporters have profiles on sites such as Twitter or Pownce, Digg, Reddit or StumbleUpon not to mention Facebook or MySpace. Each of these sites can provide them with exposure to a new community filled with issues and potential stories. But readers need to be able to find them, they need to know where reporters are and how to reach them. That’s where the blank side of your business card comes in.
I’m proposing that you get yourself some double sided business cards. One side should contain the traditional information and the other, your profile names for the sites that you’re on. This way when you distribute your business cards, you’ll be maximizing the opportunities for interaction.
As I wrote earlier, I really think newspapers should be taking this approach with every business card they get printed. But if they’re not, you should be doing it for yourself. Now, I know what many of you are going to say — “Business cards are expensive and I can’t afford to buy my own cards on my paltry salary.” Well a quick search on Google and I was able to find 250 doubled-sided business cards going for anywhere from $15 to $22 — not bad.
My advice is bring this idea up with your supervisor or editor, explain the benefits of providing readers with all these different ways to interact with you. And if they won’t pay for it, make the investment for yourself. This is one investment in your own career I think you’ll find well worth it.
NOTE: I’m proud to be participating, along with fellow journalism bloggers from around the world in the Carnival of Journalism. In addition to reading my post please visit the Carnival host site and see what my colleagues are writing about. Not sure what a blog carnival is? Check out this entry on Wikipedia.